The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has updated its FAQ document (see below) to provide answers that 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.

From IDPH’s FAQ website: “In alignment with the CDC’s guidance, updated August 5, 2021, that K-12 schools should implement universal indoor masking, the State of Illinois has also issued an updated Executive Order 2021-18 that supports safe in-person learning and requires that masks be worn indoors by all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to P-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.”

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.