Why did Perspectives decide to open schools for in-person learning?
Answer: The Illinois State Board of Education made it a requirement that schools reopen their doors this fall, with only limited options for remote learning. According to the resolution, all schools statewide “must resume fully in-person learning for all student attendance days,” while remote learning options will only be made available “for students who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and are under a quarantine order by a local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.”
What precautions and preventative measures is Perspectives implementing to stop the spread of COVID-19?
Answer: At Perspectives Charter Schools, we follow the directives and guidance regarding COVID-19 that come from our state and local officials. We are taking precautions and utilizing a layered prevention strategy to ensure the safety of our staff, students, and families. This is includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- All students and staff are expected to meet the requirements to enter the building by signing the COVID Free Acknowledgement Form.
- All students and staff will wear face coverings at all times.
- When possible, students and staff will maintain at least 3 feet of space, given space and capacity limitations.
- Furniture in all rooms is arranged in such a way to ensure maximum social distancing as allowable in a given space to maximize student learning.
- Social distancing signs are posted around common areas such as hallways, restrooms, and cafeterias.
- Schools will have hand sanitizer throughout the building and both students and staff are encouraged to use it frequently or wash their hands, especially before and after eating or touching their face.
- Our air ventilation testing and air handling adjustments have been updated and air filters are installed in the classrooms.
- Schools will be cleaned nightly by our cleaning staff. Additional cleaning materials have been supplied to schools to clean as needed throughout the school day.
- Schools will have a designated space for students who have been identified as potentially exhibiting symptoms and need to go home.
- Schools may utilize additional layers of protection in addition to what is listed above.
Will Perspectives require that all eligible staff and students receive COVID-19 vaccinations?
- For students, schools do not yet have the authority to require vaccines, however we strongly encourage eligible students to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.
- On August 26, 2021 Gov J.B. Pritzker announced a vaccine mandate for all K-12 and higher education employees in an attempt to curtail a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. By September 19th, 2021 vaccines will be required for all staff to meet this mandate. This announcement comes soon after the approval of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine by the FDA for individuals 16 years of age and older. Your safety and wellbeing is important to us and we know it is also important for you, your family, and students. For that reason, we ask that all of our staff receive at least one shot of the vaccine (if Pfizer-BioNTech/Moderna) no later than September 12th, 2021.
What are common symptoms of COVID-19?
- People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
- This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
When should my household report symptoms of COVID-19?
Answer: Your household should report symptoms of COVID-19 as soon as someone experiences them or tests positive for COVID-19. Please see below for how to report a case.
How should my household report a confirmed case of COVID-19?
Answer: It is critical to report positive COVID-19 cases in a timely manner so that we can protect the safety of our staff and students. There are two ways to report positive COVID-19 cases:
What happens when a COVID-19 case is reported?
Answer: When a COVID-19 case is reported, Perspectives follows contact tracing guidelines as set forth by the Chicago Department of Public Health. Based on the findings of contact tracing, Perspectives will make a decision on who meets the criteria for a close contact and who needs to quarantine, in addition to any other next steps. Both Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Department of Public Health are notified and involved in positive cases.
When and how will I be informed of a COVID-19 case at my student’s school?
Answer: When the findings of contact tracing have been completed, you will receive notification via email of the positive COVID-19 case. You may also receive a school reach message.
What is the definition of a close contact?
Answer: A close contact is defined by CDPH as “individuals who were within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. In the K–12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time. If they were not consistently masked, then close contacts are classroom students who were within 6 feet of the infected student for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting. In general, individuals who are solely exposed to a confirmed case while outdoors should not be considered close contacts.”
How will Perspectives determine if students need to quarantine and temporarily shift to remote learning? How will families be informed of this decision?
Answer: Using guidelines from the CDPH, Perspectives will utilize contact tracing to determine which students/staff are a first degree contact. Students/Staff who have been identified as close contacts will need to quarantine for 14 calendar days and shift to remote learning. Communication for a shift to remote learning will take via email and/or School Reach.
- Based on updated guidance, first contacts will need to quarantine for 14 calendar days.
- The exception to our quarantine policy involves close contacts who are fully vaccinated–these individuals do not need to quarantine so long as they are asymptomatic. We recommend that all close contacts–vaccinated and unvaccinated take a PCR test 3-5 days after the date of last exposure and continue to wear a mask.
What if my child is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 but has not been tested?
Answer: Students or staff exhibiting symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 should stay home. Return to school can commence with a negative PCR test. PCR tests must have an official letterhead of the healthcare provider or facility with contact information. This same policy applies for students or staff who fail a daily screener.
I would like my student to shift to remote learning permanently. Is this possible?
Answer: No. Current mandates from the Illinois Department of Education only allow for remote learning “for students who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and are under a quarantine order by a local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.”
How will Perspectives manage sports, after school programs, and extracurricular activities?
Answer: Students will continue to participate in sports, after school programs and extracurricular activities as long as:
- They are not experiencing symptoms and/or
- Have been cleared from contact tracing in the event of a case being reported on their campus.
How is Perspectives tracking the number of COVID-19 cases on their campuses?
Answer: Our Covid Tracking Dashboard tracks regional, city and school based covid data. Each Monday, Perspectives will post a snapshot of COVID-19 data in Illinois and Chicago, as well as self-reported data by staff and students from the previous week. Please note the following regarding self-reported data:
- These cases include both students and staff members.
- Student and employee health information is protected by state and federal law, and we cannot release information that could be used to identify a student or employee.
- Prolonged close contact is defined as coming within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more. Those who had brief, casual contact are not considered at great risk of transmission and are not reflected in the potential close contacts numbers. We err on the side of being extra cautious when determining potential close contacts.