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These guidances were updated on August 5, 2021 to recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated guidances for COVID-19 prevention in K–12 schools and early care and education/child care programs.

These guidances, revised on July 9, 2021 and August 5, 2021, include the following additions or revisions:

  • Information on offering and promoting COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Emphasis on the need for localities to monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, testing, and outbreaks to guide decisions on layered prevention strategies.
  • Emphasis on COVID-19 prevention strategies most important for in-person learning.
  • Updates to align with current mask guidance.
  • Updates to align with guidance for fully vaccinated people.
  • New language on safety and health protections for school workers.
  • Information on health equity.

According to IDPH, the new guidances align with guidances for fully vaccinated people, which allow activities to resume for those fully vaccinated without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, and local rules and regulations.

Included in the IDPH press release is a declaration from state Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala mandating in-person learning with limited exceptions:

“Beginning with the 2021-22 school year, all schools must resume fully in-person learning for all student attendance days, provided that, pursuant to 105 ILCS 5/10-30 and 105 ILCS 5/34-18.66, remote instruction be made available for students who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine or who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, only while they are under quarantine consistent with guidance or requirements from a local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.”