The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) has released its recommendations for COVID-19 mitigations in suburban Cook County schools. The guidance concurs with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
CCDPH will be monitoring case rates closely. This guidance may change to recommend additional prevention strategies as rates change in suburban Cook County.
Mitigation strategies include:
Encourage all eligible students and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Wear a mask if an individual is unvaccinated or over the age of 2 in an indoor setting.
Students and staff who are masked and within 3-6 feet of a confirmed case are not considered close contacts in the new CDC guidance. This means that consistent and correct mask use will decrease the number of students needing to quarantine at home in the case of exposure. With masking, fewer students will miss in-person instruction.
Maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet of physical distancing whenever possible within classrooms.
Implement screening and testing programs to promptly identify and report cases and outbreaks.
Consider improvements or enhancements to ventilation systems to reduce the concentration of virus particles indoors.
Practice frequent handwashing, hand sanitizer use, and the covering of coughs and sneezes.
All individuals should stay home when they are ill.
Work closely with CCDPH to report any positions cases for contact tracing, and require isolation and quarantine for exposed or ill individuals.
Properly clean and disinfect at least once a day to help reduce the presence of the virus on surfaces.
Additionally, CCPDH recommends the following best practices for districts and administrators:
Update your COVID emergency operations plan in preparation for the 2021-2022 school year.
Identify a single point of contact at your school when communicating with CCDPH.
Collect, update, and maintain COVID-19 vaccination status among students, faculty, and staff so that if a case, cluster, or outbreak occurs, swift action can be taken.