Know Your COVID-19 CDC Community Level
COVID-19 Community Levels are a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. Take precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 based on the COVID-19 Community Level in your area.
School Response Plan and Local Data
As part of our COVID-19 Response Plan, Gower School District follows the updated IL Department of Public Health and IL State Board of Education Joint Guidance issued to schools. Updated guidance can be found by using this link. State guidance includes the Decision Tree for Evaluating Symptomatic Individuals and related guidelines. It is important to note that the IL Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidance aligns to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is not uncommon for the CDC guidelines to update ahead of IDPH guidelines. The most up to date CDC guidelines can be found by using this link.
Additionally, Gower School District works closely with the local health department and utilizes the COVID-19 Resource Toolkit provided on their website. Local case data is reported to the DuPage County Health Department as required. We ask parents to monitor their children for symptoms of communicable diseases, including COVID-19, and keep their children home of they are sick.
- When Gower School District officials are notified of a potential exposure to COVID-19, or identify a school-based positive case through our on-site testing program, our contact tracing protocol begins to determine if any students or staff meet the close contact criteria.
- Individuals in the same indoor environment as a known positive case (e.g. a classroom, a school bus) for a prolonged period of time but not meeting the current CDC, IDPH, and DCHD definition of a close contact are classified as having a Low-Risk Exposure and do not have to take any additional precautions or follow any additional restrictions beyond general prevention/mitigation strategies employed in our schools.
- If you are not contacted directly by a staff member from Gower West or Gower Middle as part of our contact tracing efforts, you/your child has NOT met the close contact criteria.
On-Site Point of Care COVID-19: Testing
- All of the point-of-care and screening COVID-19 tests offered at Gower are administered free of charge. Strategic and responsible use of school funding, including additional federal funds received as a response to the global pandemic, allows our program to be offered as an added benefit to our school community.
- The Antigen Tests being used in Gower are rapid, point-of-care tests for any symptomatic staff or student (via parent consent), and/or close contacts that opt to take it.
- COMMUNITY TESTING: Tests are available to all members of the Gower School Community free of charge, and are being used as part of a diagnostic (symptomatic individuals) and screening (asymptomatic and/or known close contact) approach. This is a proactive and added measure that we are taking to best support and serve our school community. It does not replace, in any way, the important relationship that any of our families have with their primary healthcare provider. No appointment is necessary and our School Nurses will administer the tests directly at the vehicle window. Results from the nasal swab rapid antigen tests are available in ~15 minutes.
- Rapid Point-of-Care Influenza and Strep tests are also being used as part of our school-based, community health approach to on-site testing. School Nurses will contact parents should a Flu or Strep test be recommended.
Sharing what we have learned:
- Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health – Webinar Panelist; 6/8/21
- Community of Practice: Lessons from the Field; Centers for Disease Control (CDC), School Fieldwork Section; 4/8/21
- Lessons from the Field: Safely Reopening & Sustaining In-Person Instruction; National Center on Safe & Supportive Learning Environments; 3/31/21
- The Learning Counsel: In-Person/Remote Simultaneous Learning & On-site COVID-19 Testing; 3/9/21
- COVID-19 Practitioner Update, Full In-Person Learning Webinar; 2/25/21
- On-Site Testing Webinar: Illinois Association of School Boards; 1/14/21
- Follow-Up Podcast: Illinois Association of School Administrators; 12/14/20
- On-Site Testing Webinar: Illinois Association of School Administrators; 12/7/20
- Illinois State Board of Education – COVID-19 Updates and Resources
- Illinois Department of Public Health – COVID-19 Updates and Resources
- DuPage County Department of Public Health Updates and Resources
- The DuPage County Health Department Data Dashboard can be filtered by municipality and date to have a better understanding of case counts and local community transmission