COVID exclusion guidelines changed for schools

Mask requirements unchanged

The exclusion period for Coal City students and staff testing positive for COVID or having been in close contact has been reduced.
The Illinois Department of Public Health [IDPH], Illinois State Board of Education [ISBE] and Grundy County Health Department have adopted the CDC’s directive reducing the isolation period from 10 to five days.
In response, the Unit 1 School District implemented the guidance for schools effective Monday.
Unit 1 Superintendent Dr. Kent Bugg announced the change in a letter emailed to district families on Sunday. Bugg noted that students and staff can return after their five day exclusion as long as they are fever-free for 24 hours and other symptoms are improving.
“It is important to note that these updated exclusion rules are subject to change as school districts are still awaiting updated guidance from the IDPH and ISBE,” Bugg said.
The change comes at a time when COVID cases are increasing. As of Jan. 7 there were 59 positive student cases—30 of those at the high school—and 15 among staff.
Exclusion is required for any student or staff member who tests positive, is in close contact with a positive individual, shows symptoms of the virus or has a member of their immediate household with COVID symptoms.
Face masks are required for all individuals while inside a school building.
The school district offers COVID testing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the district’s administrative office from 8 a.m. to noon at a cost of $30 per test.
The Grundy County Health Department has reported several privately owned entities have established pop-up COVID testing sites around the county.
Michelle Pruim, the county’s health administrator, said her office is not authorized to permit or restrict these businesses, nor is it coordinating or providing any level of surveillance or oversight to pop-up clinic sites.
“Testing is scarce at local medical facilities and pharmacies, but these are licensed/regulated by IDPH, whereas the ‘pop-up’ may not be. Please proceed at your own risk if you decide to seek testing from these ‘pop-up’ testing sites,” Pruim said.
In addition to medical facilities and pharmacies, state supported testing sites can be found by visiting
The health department continues to offer COVID vaccines during walk-in clinics held each Monday, Wednesday and Friday [except Jan. 17] between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Grundy County Administration Center, 1320 Union St., Morris.
All three vaccines are available as supplies last. Initial doses and boosters are available.
A walk-in clinic offering the vaccine to individuals ages 5-11 will take place Thursday, Jan. 20 from 2-7 p.m. at The Wesley Center, 111 W. North St., Morris.
Local pharmacies are also offering the pediatric and adult vaccines.
As of Monday, 54% of the county’s population was fully vaccinated.
IDPH reports a total of 10,785 cases have been reported in Grundy County with 108 COVID related deaths.
During the most recent reporting period—Dec. 26, 2021 to Jan. 1—the county’s test positivity rate was 24.7% with 548 new cases reported with 89 youth cases.
The data is updated by IDPH each Friday based on the prior seven day figures.