COVID & School Program Status information
2022-23 info coming soon!
April 18, 2022 Update:
As of Monday 4/18, we are returning to mandatory indoor masking
March 11, 2022
UpDates to Our Covid-19 Policies
We take seriously the social and emotional impacts of two years of masking and other mitigation measures on our students, faculty, and staff. As we continually consider the appropriateness of our COVID protocols, we inform our decisions with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and State of Illinois, Village of Oak Park Health Department, our own Health Advisory Committee, our faculty and staff, and parent/guardian input. We recognize the stress new guidelines can create for us all as we consider new routines and their implications.
At the current time, with transmission rates low in our school and in the broader community, with most cases of COVID causing only minor illness, and with high vaccination rates in our school community, we are adopting the following changes to our COVID protocols:
Effective Monday March 14, 2022 we will no longer require indoor or outdoor masking for students, faculty, staff, or anyone else who enters the building (with some exceptions - see below). However, anyone who chooses to may of course continue to mask. If you would like your child to continue to mask, please talk with your child and let your child's teacher know. We will help remind/encourage this in the classroom. In addition, teachers may ask your child to wear a mask if they are experiencing symptoms such as sneezing or runny nose.
We will continue to provide weekly SHIELD PCR testing through the end of this school year.
We are able to provide BinaxNOW rapid antigen testing for students, teachers, or staff members who show symptoms of COVID-19.
We will continue to utilize frequent and thorough hand-washing/hand-sanitizing upon entering the school building, before eating, after using the restroom, and at other points in the day as needed.
We will continue having all students, faculty, and staff stay home when ill or possibly ill.
We will continue to maintain distance of 3-6 feet between people when possible, while still allowing students to be closer than 3 feet at times for periods of academic or social interaction.
We will continue to spend lots of time outdoors and to keep windows open for ventilation while indoors. We will continue to eat lunch outdoors when weather permits or indoors with students spaced apart.
We will continue daily cleaning/disinfecting of classrooms and other spaces.
We will continue to require proof of COVID vaccination for all vaccinated faculty, staff, and students. At the current time all TCS faculty and staff members, including student teachers and interns, are vaccinated.
Family volunteers and other visitors to the building during school hours must provide proof of COVID vaccination or negative COVID test within 48 hours.
Field Trips will resume. All individuals must mask while in transit, whether in private vehicles, bus or public transit. Mask use will follow the guidance of the teacher for the duration of the trip. Participants who do not feel well should not attend field trips.
For the time being we will maintain cohorts within Pond (K-2), Lake (3-5), and Ocean (6-8). However, we are considering a return to whole-school activities such as Group Gathering and all-school lunch after Spring Break.
Similarly, we are planning a return to some school-wide events such as the Enchanted Forest Gala (April 30), the Hootenanny (May 12), and Graduation (June 2).
All of these same guidelines apply to before care and after school programming.
Exceptions to Mask-Optional:
Protocols for Containment and Health Alerts
If a student/faculty/staff member tests positive for COVID (Day 0), they must quarantine for 5 days and may return to school on Day 6 if fever free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours, diarrhea/vomiting have ceased for 24 hours, and other symptoms have improved. They must mask around others (indoors and outdoors) for 5 days (days 6 through 10) upon their return to school.
If an individual misses school due to experiencing COVID-like symptoms, they can return to school EITHER after receiving a negative COVID test OR waiting 5 days. They must also be fever free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours, diarrhea/vomiting have ceased for 24 hours, and other symptoms have improved. The first day they miss school is Day 0. If they return on Day 6 they must mask around others (indoors and outdoors) for 5 days.
If you were EXPOSED to someone with COVID and have no COVID-like symptoms: If you are unvaccinated---quarantine for 5 days and return on day 6, mask days 6-10. if you are vaccinated--you don't need to quarantine but do need to mask for 10 days
We will issue a health alert to the classroom if someone tests positive within that classroom. We ask all families to please notify us immediately if a student or family member tests positive outside of school so we can respond accordingly.
TCS can provide a rapid antigen test at 8 am for students/faculty/staff who need it to return to school or to help with diagnosis. Please notify us the day before if you plan to bring your child for a test. Please also remember that a positive antigen test must be confirmed by a subsequent PCR test and the student/faculty/staff should quarantine at least until the PCR results are received.
We continue to review and remain responsive to changing recommendations from the medical and scientific communities as well as our own community. Thank you for your continued support as we navigate these challenges and work to keep everyone at TCS physically, socially, and emotionally healthy.
If You Test Positive for COVID-19 —
Vaccinated or Unvaccinated
Days 0 - 5
Isolate for 5 days from onset of symptoms. First day of symptoms is day 0.
Days 6 - 10
1. Check symptoms:
a. If 24 hours fever-free with no fever-reducing medication AND no diarrhea or vomiting for 24 hours AND improvement of other symptoms, return to school.
b. If symptoms continue, wait to end isolation until 24 hours fever-free with no fever-reducing medication AND no diarrhea or vomiting for 24 hours AND improvement of other symptoms.
2. Regardless of whether symptoms are present, you must wear a well-fitted mask around others for five days (on days 6 through 10) including outdoors.
Days 0 - 5
Isolate for 5 days after test date. Date of positive test is day 0.
Days 6 - 10
1. Return to school after five days if no symptoms develop. (If symptoms develop after testing positive, the 5-day isolation starts over.)
2. Wear a well-fitted mask around others for five days (on days 6 through10), including outdoors.
If You Have Symptoms of COVID-19 —
Vaccinated or Unvaccinated
Must remain home from school:
● Unless you receive a negative test result that confirms the symptoms are not due to COVID-19 OR
● For a minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 10 days until 24 hours fever-free with no fever-reducing medication AND no diarrhea or vomiting for 24 hours AND improvement of other symptoms.
● Regardless of whether symptoms are present, must wear a well-fitted mask around others for 5 more days after returning to school.
● Those testing positive should follow the guidance for persons testing positive (above).
If You Were Exposed to Someone with COVID-19
and Have NO Covid-Like Symptoms
You MUST quarantine for 5 days IF…
● Wear a mask around others for 10 days, including outdoors.
● Test on day 5. Day of exposure counts as day 0.
● If symptoms develop, isolate until you receive a negative test result
You do NOT have to quarantine IF…
● You have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters. (Some immunocompromised persons must have received additional primary doses.)
● Ages 5 - 17 AND have completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
● Have had a confirmed COVID-19 case within the last 90 days.
● Wear a mask around others for 10 days, including outdoors.
● Test on day 5. Day of exposure counts as
● If symptoms develop, isolate until you receive a negative test result.
TCS Health Advisory Committee
To help us evaluate and confirm our reopening procedure, and to help us develop ways to appropriately and safely respond to Covid-19 throughout the school year, we are so grateful to have the help of our newly assembled Health Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of TCS parents who are professionals in the medical field, and also understand the unique needs and ways of our school community.
Michael Angarone, DO
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and Medical Education Feinberg School of Medicine
Joshua Carson, MD
Medical Director, Loyola University Medical Center Burn Center
Andrea Dellaria, MD
Neurologist, Northwest Neurology
Beth Marshall, MD
Internal Medicine, Rush -Oak Park Hospital
Sharmilee M. Nyenhuis, MD, FAAAAI
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Section of Allergy/Immunology
University of Chicago
8th Grade Documentary
on Covid-19 Pandemic
Our 2020 Murder of Crows class made a documentary on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected community residents, local businesses, students, and teachers. They interviewed local experts, including OPRF Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liz Holt, and Loyola University epidemiologist Dr. David Shoham, and several local business owners. During the project, they met with professional documentary filmmakers, Dan Andries and Anne Northrup, and also planned ways to promote their documentary both to and beyond the TCS community.
The Children's School and Covid-19
Frequently Asked Questions
How will TCS let us know if Covid risks have changed and my child's program is switching to remote or back to onsite learning?
Our directors will contact every family by email should our program status change due to Covid risk mitigation factors called for by state or local authorities, or by our health advisory committee. You can also find our latest Covid Status announcements here.
When do I need to keep my child home?
Keep your child home if they have an elevated temperature (100.4F or higher) or show any of the symptoms of COVID or any other contagious condition (i.e., pink-eye, head lice). If in doubt it is better to keep them home.
What are the symptoms of COVID that I should watch for in my child/myself?
Known symptoms of COVID are: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
What happens when a teacher gets sick?
If a teacher has to stay home due to illness, one of three things will happen: 1) the class will go remote and the teacher will continue teaching, 2) we will secure a substitute teacher, or 3) if the teacher is too ill to teach and we cannot secure a substitute the class may need to be suspended until the teacher is able to return to the classroom. Please note that in the event of teacher illness, we may be limited in our ability to use substitutes due to safety considerations around introducing new people into the school environment.
Will TCS take my child’s temperature?
We will discontinue morning temperature checks in Fall of 2021 as they have not proven useful in diagnosing COVID cases. We will continue using multiple doors for arrival and checking in with each student as they arrive. However, we may take a temperature as part of the information we report to you if a child is separated from the group for not feeling well.
Does my child have to wear a mask at school?
As of March 14, 2022, TCS has moved to a "mask optional" policy. Masks are optional both indoors and outdoors, except in special cases indicated through Covid exposure, testing, and recovery after symptoms are gone. However, anyone who chooses to may of course continue to mask. If you would like your child to continue to mask, please talk with your child and let your child's teacher know. We will help remind/encourage this in the classroom. In addition, teachers may ask your child to wear a mask if they are experiencing symptoms such as sneezing or runny nose. TCS does provide masks onsite for children who need them. Mask guidelines for those who have previously tested positive or who have been exposed to Covid will still apply.
What happens if my child starts feeling poorly at school?
They will be separated from others and we will call you to come pick them up. Please see the flow chart above for when they can return to school.
Are carpools and field trips safe?
As of March 2022, Field Trips will resume. All individuals must mask while in transit, whether in private vehicles, bus or public transit. Mask use will follow the guidance of the teacher for the duration of the trip. Participants who do not feel well should not attend field trips.
How do I call my child in sick?
When calling your child in due to illness, be sure to report 1) if they have been in close contact of someone with a positive COVID test, 2) have symptoms of coronavirus, or 3) have been diagnosed with COVID or influenza (respiratory flu). Call the main office (708.484.8033). Please leave a message if we are unable to pick up your call. Drop off time is busy but we will get your messager.
How will drop off and pick up work?
See the map below for the correct entrance and exit for your child's class. Please observe proper distancing while outside, and remember to wait until your child is confirmed fever-free before leaving.
Can my family travel (for upcoming holidays, etc.)?
Families are urged to comply with the Suburban Cook County travel guidance (updated weekly) and are required to follow
CDC travel bans/restrictions (link). We recommend you REFRAIN from traveling to these areas two weeks prior to the start of school.
Can my child work remotely?
We are not currently offering a separate remote program. We will offer remote learning if a child, class, or the school is put into a quarantine status due to Covid-19, or if state or local Covid conditions and subsequent guidelines require us to offer a remote program. Unfortunately, we cannot extend remote learning for other reasons such as other illnesses, missed school, travel, or family preference.
Can my child have playdates?
We urge all TCS students to play with their siblings and their friends from their class! Please maintain safe practices such as masking, handwashing, and carefully considering the risk situations of those involved in the play date. The more we as a community limit unsafe behavior, the more likely we are to remain in school.
What if state and local risk levels change?
TCS must comply with state and local health mandates. If Illinois reverts to stricter Covid mitigation efforts, TCS will have to comply. We are required to adhere to the reopening school guidelines jointly approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Our aim is to serve our students in a way that is safe for them and for teachers.
How often will classrooms be cleaned?
Classrooms will be cleaned daily by the cleaning staff. Special attention will be given to frequently touched areas such as light switches, work areas, chair backs, door handles, bathroom stall locks, and hand railings. Wipes and hand-sanitizer will be available in each classroom and by each school entry door. Children will be reminded to wash their hands throughout the morning.
Will TCS still send health alerts?
Yes, TCS will continue to send health alerts as in the past for any contagious issue that arises in a classroom. In addition, if a student is exposed to someone with COVID-19 we will issue a health alert to that classroom and ask parents to monitor symptoms for 14 days. If a student or teacher tests positive for COVID, we will issue a health alert to the entire school.
Are visitors allowed at TCS?
We will limit visitors to essential personnel and require visitors to follow all mask-wearing, hand-washing, cleaning/disinfecting of shared materials, and social distancing requirements while in the building.
How will bathrooms work at TCS?
Each class will have a designated bathroom for students to support the cohorting effort. For example, Kindergarten students will use the bathroom in the NW corner of the school.1st and 2nd-grade students will use the bathroom by the stairs. Lake students (3, 4, 5) will use the washroom in Room 107 (girls) or by the stairs (boys). Ocean students will continue to use the washrooms on the 2nd floor. All bathrooms will be used by a single student at a time to allow for proper social distancing. Students will sanitize hands before entering the bathroom and wash hands before leaving.