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 on our Covid and Program Status page.

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?

nown 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.

How long will I have to keep my child home? 

A student or teacher can return to TCS 10 days after onset of symptoms or after presenting a negative COVID test. 

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the attached chart.  This covers the most common scenarios. 

Download PDF of IDPH Chart in English as seen below

Download or view PDF of IDPH Chart in Spanish

IDPH pg2.1.4.21.jpg

Will TCS take my child’s temperature? 

Yes, TCS will be taking temperatures as students arrive for school and during the day as needed.  Parents should wait by the school entrance until your child is admitted.  Any child who presents with an elevated temperature (100.4F or higher) will have their temperature taken a second time before being admitted to school. 

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.

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.   

Does my child have to wear a mask at school?

Yes. All students and adults will wear a mask while at TCS.  Exceptions are only allowed if they can present a physician’s note indicating that they have a medical reason for being unable to wear a mask (i.e., injury; in which case they will need to wear a face shield) or if they are drinking/eating.  Snacks should be bite-sized and able to be eaten in 1 or 2 bites. 

Will there be mask breaks?

Yes. Masks may be removed during teacher-designated “mask breaks” when students are either outdoors or indoors in a designated area, spaced at least 6 feet apart, and not moving around.  

What happens if my child won't wear a mask?

Because mask-wearing is recognized as the most effective way for everyone to stay healthy, students who do/will not wear a mask will be separated from others and you will be called to come pick them up.   

Are carpools safe?

We encourage carpoolers to use a small and consistent group for carpooling.  All participants, including the driver, should wear masks and try to keep vehicle windows open to gently circulate fresh air.  

How many masks should my child bring to school? Will TCS provide any masks?

Your child should have 2 extra clean masks in a resealable bag at school each day. Please have your child practice wearing the masks to make sure they are comfortable and labeled clearly with your chlld’s name. Masks that are wet or soiled should be replaced immediately.  The school does have extra youth and adult-sized surgical masks should anyone need one. 

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.

Arrivals and Dismissals.jpg

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.  We also require families to sign a Family Return to School Pledge before sending their child to school after a holiday break.

Can I change my mind on whether my child is in the hybrid or remote program?


We are asking parents who want to switch their child to or from the hybrid or remote program for Winter and Spring, to please let us know by January 4th. Should our programming shift due to changes in what is known about COVID or to improve the student experience we will communicate this to families.  Please watch for updates from the directors as the year progresses.

Can my child have playdates?

We urge all TCS students to play with their siblings and their friends from their class!  Please review as a family who will be in your “pod” or “circle” of people with whom you spend time.  The more we as a community limit contacts with others 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 a lower-level phase 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 each day by teachers and each evening 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.

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.


Thank you to our Health Advisory Committee:


Michael Angarone, DO

Assistant Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and Medical Education Feinberg School of Medicine

Abigail Hodges, MD
Pediatrician, Oak Park Pediatrics


Magda Houlberg, MD, FACP

Chief Clinical Officer, Howard Brown Health


Muriel Jean-Jacques, MD
Internist, Northwestern Medical Group and Assistant Professor Feinberg School of Medicine


Regina Kim, MD
Family Medicine, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern Medicine 


David Shoham, PhD, MSPH

Epidemiologist and Director of Loyola's Public Health Programs