Vaccination is a key component for the lifting of restrictions

Posted by Alan Boucher on 6/14/2021

Happily, the number of positive Covid cases continues to decrease. Last November, there were more than 15,000 new cases reported each day. Now, the daily infection rate is in the range of 300-400. Researchers estimate that herd immunity could happen when 70% of the population has had the virus or has become fully vaccinated.

Districts continue to wait for final guidance about how the upcoming school year will look. We will develop plans for the fall as new information becomes available. Here are a few examples of things that will most likely be realities this fall.

  • Since entering Phase 5 of the Governor’s Covid plan, there are no attendance restrictions for athletics or extra-curricular activities.
  • On May 17, the Governor announced that the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health are mandating that everyone wear a mask at school during the 2021-2022 school year. It is my personal opinion that they will alter the mask mandate at some point. The state expects all students to return to school this fall. 
  • There will be an allowance for remote learning for a very small number of students who have specific health situations.
  • Students who are fully vaccinated may resume sports-related activities without wearing masks or maintaining physical distance from others for any sport, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Students who are fully vaccinated may skip routine testing for Covid.  The state has said that Covid testing will be done in schools for those who aren’t fully vaccinated.
  • Students who are fully vaccinated with no symptoms of Covid do not need to be quarantined; be restricted from school, athletics, or another extracurricular activity.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health has stated that students who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask during sports-related activities played indoors.

As you can see from the information above, vaccination is a key component for the lifting of restrictions. It takes about five weeks for a student to become fully vaccinated. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is given 3 weeks after the first dose, and there is a 2-week waiting period after the second dose before a student is considered fully vaccinated. Students who start the vaccine process today can expect to be fully vaccinated during the 3rd week of July. The experts have stated that the known and potential benefits of Covid vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has developed a document of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the topic of vaccinating young people.