As school begins this fall, the priority of Lockport Township High School is full, in-person learning for all students. The district is committed to keeping students safely on campus and maintains layers of disease prevention strategies. Measures include masking, physical distancing, optimal ventilation, and sanitation. The administration and nursing staff work closely with Will County Public Health to facilitate contact tracing and monitor community conditions. The well-being of individual students and the entire community remains everyone’s responsibility. The district continues to maintain procedures to safeguard the health of students and staff. Parents and guardians need to monitor and report COVID-like symptoms, keep sick children home, and assume the consequences of vaccination and mask decisions.
When to Call the Nurse
If a student has tested positive for or is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the parent/guardian should immediately contact the Nurses Office. Symptoms include, but are not limited to: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. fatigue, fever or chills, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. During business hours, please call the office:Central CampusNurse's Office815-588-8280Fax: 815-588-8279East CampusNurse's Office815-588-8380Fax: 815-588-8384
If reporting the information after hours or on the weekend, please provide a telephone contact by email. Please do not relay details of health information by email or on voicemail.
When speaking with a nurse or staff member, please be prepared to provide the following information:✔️ Student's name✔️ Date of birth✔️ Symptom start date✔️ Testing date✔️ Last time physically in school✔️ Close contacts of LTHS students ("close contact" is within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period)✔️ Is the student in Athletics/Activities?✔️ Does the student ride the bus?✔️ What facility conducted the COVID-19 test?✔️ Does the infected student have any siblings at LTHS? If so, they must also be quarantined.
Please note, current state guidelines require schools to only accept the RT-PCR test. Students enrolled in the SHIELD program may arrange to be tested without entering the school building when SHIELD is available.
All students and staff sent home with COVID-like symptoms should be diagnostically tested. Students and staff should remain home from school until they receive negative test results. Students and staff who are confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 must remain in isolation for the prescribed number of quarantine days from the date of first symptom onset and be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved before returning to school.
In the interest of medical privacy and to assure reporting procedures are followed, students and parents should not email teachers or other students about their diagnosis. LTHS will notify all individuals who have been in close contact through contact tracing.
HEALTHCARE provider’s note requirements to return to school: Persons who remain asymptomatic throughout 14 calendar days of quarantine do not need a healthcare provider’s note to return to school. During the quarantine period, a contact tracer will be closely monitoring the contact to confirm they remain asymptomatic. Documentation to return to school includes a Release from Quarantine letter and should be provided to the Nurses Office by fax or email.
Masks and Other Mitigations
Masks: The CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Will County Public Health recommend that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas with substantial and high transmission. CDC is also recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. The LTHS School Board approved a resolution adopting this recommendation. Effective August 4, 2021, universal masking in all K-12 schools is mandatory statewide. All other mitigations with respect to physical distancing, hand sanitizing, cleaning, ventilation, contact tracing, and quarantine will remain in place.
Areas of substantial transmission are considered by CDC to be those with 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. Areas of high transmission are considered to be those with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. The community level of transmission can be found here https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.
Physical Distancing: Current guidance establishes appropriate physical distancing as 3 feet of separation between students in classrooms and lunch settings for schools that have on-campus COVID surveillance testing capability. LTHS facilities at both campuses can accommodate this while allowing for full, in-person learning. The LTHS School Board has contracted with the SHIELD of Illinois to provide COVID surveillance testing.
Transportation: CDC and IDPH guidelines state all bus drivers and all students, vaccinated or unvaccinated, must wear a face mask while on school-provided transportation including buses and drivers education vehicles. This is regardless of mask-wearing requirements in school. This is consistent with guidelines governing other forms of public transportation, such as airplanes, trains, ride-shares, etc.
- Outside air dampers are positioned at 100% open for maximum ventilation in each space, as weather permits. Opening windows for increased ventilation is encouraged. Thermal comfort is sacrificed for well-ventilated classrooms.
- Air handling units run and exhaust fans for at least two hours prior to occupancy and two hours after occupancy to ensure ample fresh air turnover per guidelines.
- MERV-rated filters have been installed on all air handling units and unit ventilators per ASHRAE, NAFA, and recommendation from the mechanical engineer who designed all the LTHS HVAC systems.
- Increase filter changes per year due to the use of high-rated MERV filters.
- Test CO2 levels in classrooms with a portable CO2 data logger. Data is collected and downloaded to spreadsheets and graphs to analyze the level of CO2 in each tested classroom.
- Testing CO2 levels ensure the unit is operating as designed. This is not theory or engineering calculations, but real-time data measuring actual CO2 levels.
Cleaning and Sanitation:
- Staff only uses EPA-approved disinfectant with one minute kill time.
- The focus is on cleaning for health by reallocating staff and resources to increase the frequency of disinfecting in high-touch areas.
- After the custodial staff has cleaned and disinfected, desks are tested regularly using an ATP meter to verify cleanliness.
- Multiple Electrostatic Sprayers are used to effectively and efficiently disinfect large spaces, buses, and athletic equipment.
- The custodial staff is trained in Infectious Control and Prevention, which involves techniques to break the chain of infection, limit cross-contamination, and stop the spread of COVID-19.
What is SHIELD testing? SHIELD of Illinois is a saliva-based COVID-19 test developed at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Lockport Township High School has partnered with SHIELD of Illinois and Visit Healthcare, the administrator of the program to provide on-campus testing for the fall semester.
- The most accurate, sensitive COVID test presently available;
- A quick and simple saliva test;
- Involves testing all students enrolled in the program (unvaccinated or vaccinated) once weekly;
- Provides results within 12-24 hours after a student provides a sample and results are HIPAA protected;
- Can detect COVID 2-3 days after exposure to COVID-19;
- Eliminates the need for any further testing;
- Free and zero cost to our families and our school district;
- Requires parental consent for students under the age of 18.
What is the benefit of using SHIELD testing?
- COVID can be detected early to protect all students;
- Eliminate COVID as a possible reason a student may be experiencing COVID-like symptoms;
- Prevents COVID spread on campus that could result in stricter mitigation measures, such as universal masking, hybrid learning, or remote learning.
For more details, visit SHIELD testing.
The CDC recommends that students of high school age get vaccinated except in cases that it is medically prohibitive. Vaccination is solely the control and choice of parents. Parents/Guardians assume risks if they have their children vaccinated or not.
Unvaccinated students who do not wear a mask are more likely to be subject to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19, demonstrate COVID-like symptoms, or contract COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccinations are free and available to anyone over the age of 12 at several sites in the area. For more information about vaccination locations and to schedule an appointment, visit the Will County Public Health website.
Students and staff who are fully vaccinated with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be restricted from school or extracurricular activities. CDC recommends that fully vaccinated individuals test three to five (3-5) days after a close contact exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The availability of the options below is subject to change based on an increase in transmission rates. Local health departments will make the final determination as to who should be quarantined and for how long. They also may determine that a close contact is not a candidate for a modified quarantine due to high-risk exposure.
Local health departments will make the final determination on who is to be quarantined and for how long. They also may determine that a close contact is not a candidate for modified quarantine due to a high-risk exposure (e.g., sustained close contact without masking). The CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health define a close contact as an individual not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 who was within six (6) feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of fifteen (15) minutes or more over a 24-hour period. For students in the classroom setting, contacts who were within three to six (3 to 6) feet of an infected student do not require quarantine as long as both the case and the contact were consistently masked. If they were not consistently masked, then close contacts are classroom students who were within six (6) feet of the infected student for a cumulative total of fifteen (15) minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The CDC and the IDPH describe four options for quarantine:
Option 1: The IDPH requires a student to quarantine at home for fourteen (14) calendar days. The date of last exposure is considered day zero (0). Students may return to school if they are asymptomatic after (fourteen) 14 days.
Option 2: Quarantine for ten (10) calendar days after the close contact’s last exposure to the COVID-19 case. The date of last exposure is considered day zero (0). The individual may end quarantine after day ten (10) if no symptoms of COVID-19 developed during daily monitoring. A negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing is recommended and may be required by the local health department. The returning student must maintain physical distancing and must wear a mask until at least day fourteen (14) at all times when returning to school.
Option 3: Quarantine period is for seven (7) calendar days after the last exposure if:
No symptoms developed during daily monitoring AND the individual has a negative SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test (PCR) that was collected within 48 hours of exposure day seven (7) (starting on day six (6) or after). The individual is responsible for obtaining a copy of the negative results and submitting those results to the nurse in their building for documentation purposes.
The individual must monitor their symptoms, must wear a mask at all times when returning to school, and must maintain a physical distance of three to six (3-6) feet upon return through day fourteen (14).
Regardless of when an individual ends quarantine, daily symptom monitoring should continue through calendar day fourteen (14) after the exposure and the individual must wear a mask regardless of the current mask procedures and protocols in place at school. If any symptoms develop during or after quarantine, the individual should immediately self-isolate and contact their local health department or healthcare provider to report their symptoms. The health department can provide guidance on how to safely quarantine and isolate within the household.
Option 4: Test-to-Stay-in-School Protocol
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) now allows a modified quarantine approach for close contact through a “Test-to-Stay” protocol. LTHS will exercise this protocol for in-school exposures for students enrolled in SHIELD testing. This option will be applied at the discretion of the school nurses based on a number of factors.