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  • Cass School District 63 has implemented a test-to-stay program, which allows eligible students who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to remain in school after a close contact in the school setting. To be considered, the answer to each of the following questions in the protocols must be Yes.

    If the answer to ANY of the following questions is No at any point during the prescribed time period following a close contact at school, then the student is ineligible for test-to-stay and will be excluded for the required timeframe, per guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health. In other words, test-to-stay is not a one-time decision, but a daily determination.

    A student who is determined to be eligible to participate in test-to-stay must be tested on alternating days beginning on day one or the first day the child is in school after the close contact, for a minimum of 10 days. After a weekend, holiday or absence, the student will be tested on the first day of return and every other day thereafter through the 10-day cycle. This is explained in the following scenarios.

    Testing Schedule Scenarios

    Scenario 1 – A child is a close contact in the school setting on a Tuesday and is found to be eligible for the test-to-stay protocols. Assuming the child remains symptom free, he or she would be tested at school at a minimum on the subsequent Wednesday and Friday of that same week, followed by the Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the following week.

    Scenario 2 – A child is a close contact in the school setting on a Wednesday and is found to be eligible for the test-to-stay protocols. Assuming the child remains symptom free, he or she would be tested at school at a minimum on the subsequent Thursday of that same week, followed by the Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the following week.

    Scenario 3 – A child is a close contact in the school setting on a Friday and is found to be eligible for the test-to-stay protocols. Assuming the child remains symptom free, he or she would be tested at school at a minimum on the subsequent Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the following week, and the Monday of the next week.

    Local Health Department Authority

    It should be further noted that while the initial determination of eligibility for test-to-stay will be determined by the school district based on the protocols explained here, the DuPage County Health Department could also determine that a student must be excluded. Any necessary details and information will be provided to the local health department as required.

    Symptom Onset or Positive Test Results

    Eligibility for test-to-stay will change if symptoms develop or if the required testing regimen results in a positive test result. If a student does develop symptoms during the test-to-stay process, the child may return to school with continued negative PCR test results after being symptom-free for 24 hours and free from flu-like symptoms (diarrhea or vomiting) for 48 hours.

    Protocols for Fully Vaccinated Students

    Students who are fully vaccinated and whose parents have provided the required documentation to their child’s school office are allowed to remain in school as long as they remain symptom free. PCR testing may also be required, depending on the type of exposure. Details regarding these and other guidance and protocols are available in the Stay Healthy, Stay Smart! plan, also on the district website.

    Test-to-Stay Protocol Eligibility Questions

    Following are the questions that must be answered to determine a close contact student’s eligibility for the test-to-stay protocols as described above.

    1.  Did the close contact take place at school or in a school-based activity?

    Yes – Move to the next question.

    No – A student who is a close contact outside of the school setting is ineligible for test-to-stay.

    2.  Were both the student who tested positive and the close contact wearing properly fitted masks throughout the close contact situation, regardless of vaccination status?

    Yes – Move to the next question.

    No – If either student was not wearing a properly fitted mask throughout the close contact situation of 15 minutes or more, then the student who was a close contact is ineligible for test-to-stay.

    3.  Does the close contact student remain asymptomatic?

    Yes – Move to the next question.

    No – If the close contact student exhibits any symptoms at any time, then the student who was a close contact is ineligible for test-to-stay.

    4.  Has the parent provided consent to the testing program provided by the school district, and agreed to the on-site testing protocols on alternating days beginning on day one or the first day the child is in school, for a minimum of 10 days after the close contact?

    Yes – Move to the next question.

    No – If the parents of the close contact student do not provide consent for participation in the on-site testing program, then the student who was a close contact is ineligible for test-to-stay.

    5.  Have both the child and the parent remained compliant in the required 10-day on-site testing regimen as described above?

    Yes – If the answer to all five questions remains YES, then the child is eligible for test-to-stay, assuming that the local health department does not determine that exclusion is necessary.

    No – If the parents and/or the close contact student does not remain compliant with the required testing regimen, then the student who was a close contact is ineligible for test-to-stay.

    The health and safety of our students, staff and families will always remain at the forefront of our planning. Adjustments and changes to these protocols, as well as the Stay Healthy, Stay Smart! plan will be made whenever necessary or required by public heath guidance. Please contact your child’s school office or the appropriate school administrator with any questions or concerns.