University of Illinois Urbana‑Champaign

IDPH Releases FAQ Addressing Recent Changes to School Guidance

Published: August 13, 2021 | Updated: February 15, 2022

Note: on January 4, 2022, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released a health alert for K-12 schools. IDPH and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) provided additional guidance and a FAQ document (see below) on February 5. 

These updates build on the Centers for Disease Control’s revised Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools, which the state has adopted for all public and nonpublic schools that serve students in prekindergarten through grade 12.

For the latest updates, guidances, and metrics, visit the IDPH and ISBE Joint Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools webage.

In sum, changes to the guidance for the 2021–2022 school year include the following:

  • Promotion of vaccination as the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Additional emphasis on the importance of offering in-person learning, regardless of whether all of the prevention strategies can be implemented in a school.
  • Revised definition of close contacts to guide quarantine procedures.
  • Introduction of a Test to Stay alternative to quarantine.
  • Alignment with state Executive Order 2021-18 on required universal indoor masking in P-12 schools for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.