EXECUTIVE ORDERS 2021-24 AND 2021-25
The Governor’s Office has acted to clarify the timelines and bases for school exclusion due to quarantine. Last Friday, September 17th, the Governor issued Executive Order 2021-24. The Order requires all school districts to exclude students and staff who are confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, who are close contacts to a case, or who exhibit COVID-19 like symptoms. To clarify issues related to that Order for exclusions and to address recent judicial developments, the Governor’s Office issued a follow up Executive Order 2021-25 on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. This new Order mandates that all schools must “Investigate the occurrence of cases and suspect cases in schools and identify Close Contacts for purposes of determining whether Students or School Personnel must be excluded pursuant to this Executive Order.” Schools are to exclude students and staff who are a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 for a minimum of 10 days following onset date of symptoms if they are symptomatic or 10 days following the date of a positive test if they are asymptomatic. Schools can permit Close Contacts who are asymptomatic to attend in-person instruction provided that the Close Contact tests negative on days 1, 3, 5, and 7 following the exposure to a Confirmed or Probable case (i.e. Test-to-Stay).
New Executive Order 2021-25 also provides that “Schools shall Exclude any Student or School Personnel who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, as defined by the CDC, until they test negative for COVID-19 or for a minimum of 10 days, until they are fever free for 24 hours and until 48 hours after diarrhea or vomiting have ceased.”
To read the full text of Executive Order 2021-25, go to: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/EO-2021-25.pdf
To read the full text of Executive Order 2021-24, go to: https://www.illinois.gov/content/dam/soi/en/web/illinois/documents/government/
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE
The Illinois Department of Public Health filed emergency rules on September 17, 2021 to amend current communicable disease regulations. The reporting procedures now incorporate the exclusion mandates of Executive Order 2021-24 and Executive Order 2021-25 discussed above. To address recent judicial developments limiting school authority to address the pandemic in limited areas of the State, the emergency rules state that excluding a student or staff member from school, requiring vaccination, testing or masking shall not constitute isolation or quarantine and can be done without a court order or an order by a local health authority. The rules further provide that the ability of schools, employers, or other institutions to require vaccinations is not limited by rule.
To read more about the Illinois Department of Public Health’s emergency rules, go to: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19/77-690%20Emergency%20Rulemaking20210917.pdf
Finally, for your reference, ISBE and IDPH have released several new guidance documents to support schools and update guidance in light of the recent emergency rules and executive orders to help schools safely navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
For revised guidance on supporting the full return to in-person learning for all students, go to:
For revised frequently asked questions for schools, go to: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/ISBE-IDPH-School-FAQs-20210921.pdf
For sample situations on how to implement these new exclusion protocols, go to: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/P-12-COVID-19-Exclusion-Protocols.pdf