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Governor’s Executive Order Requiring Exclusion of Students and School Personnel

K-12 Education K-12 Education

Late Friday, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2021-24 requiring schools to exclude students and school personnel for COVID-19 diagnosis, exposure, or symptoms. School districts, not the local health department, are now responsible for suspending in-person activities for those identified in the Order. Key provisions of the Order: 

  • Exclusion Authority: For the first time, school districts are required to exclude students and school personnel for COVID-19 regardless of whether the individual is subject to a quarantine order from the health department.  
  • Antigen Only Exclusion: Both confirmed (via PCR test) and probable (via antigen test) cases are subject to the same exclusion period. 
  • 14-Day Exclusion for Close Contacts: Minimum 14 days of exclusion or as otherwise directed by the local health department.  However, schools may permit close contacts who are asymptomatic to remain in school and at school activities if both the confirmed/probable case and close contact were masked for the entire period of exposure and the close contact tests negative on days 1, 3, 5, and 7 following exposure. As before, close contacts do not include individuals who are currently asymptomatic and are fully vaccinated or tested positive for COVID-19 within the prior 90 days.  
  • 10-Day Exclusion for Symptoms (Regardless of Test Result): In addition to confirmed and probable cases, those students and school personnel with symptoms must be excluded for a minimum of 10 days and until they are fever free for 24 hours and free from diarrhea or vomiting for 48 hours. **On September 21, 2021, Executive Order 2021-25 revised this section to provide that individuals with symptoms, as defined by the CDC, may return after receipt of a negative COVID test.

The Executive Order also includes definitions for confirmed and probable cases, close contact, and school personnel. The IDPH decision tree is currently unavailable as updates are made to reflect these recent changes. 

Schools are responsible for providing remote instruction for all students who have been excluded from school pursuant to the Executive Order.  With the expansion of those students likely to be excluded, schools must consider how to provide remote instruction while students are learning from home.