Covid Mitigation Update from Superintendent Michael Riordan

Greetings Spartan Families,
This message is a follow up to my communication sent on August 5th.  We are just days away from welcoming all of our students back to campus for the first time in 18 months, and the excitement of a full return to learning is extraordinary!  We look forward to providing exceptional learning experiences for all of our students during the 2021-2022 school year, and we are also taking all reasonable measures to keep our students, staff, and visitors safe while on campus.  
To ensure that our students and staff are safe, I want to remind you of a few important mitigating measures that are in effect for the beginning of this school year.  Please note that these are all subject to review and revision based on updated guidance and community COVID metrics.
1.        All students are expected to self monitor their health and are directed to remain home if any COVID symptoms are present, including a cough or fever.  Students will NOT electronically certify they are symptom-free each day as was done in the past.  However, I cannot stress enough the importance of STAYING HOME when not feeling well, and by coming to school, you are “certifying” that you are symptom free.
2.        Masks must be worn properly by everyone while inside the school building.  There are a few exceptions to this mandate, such as while eating or swimming in the pool.  Students will not be allowed to attend classes without properly wearing a mask, and the school discipline system will be utilized to enforce the expectation.
3.        All students will be tested weekly for COVID via the Shield Illinois program, sponsored by the University of Illinois.  The testing procedure is very quick, simple, and non-invasive, with students providing a small amount of saliva that is tested at a professional lab and results provided in less than 24 hours.  We will also have rapid testing available for students who demonstrate symptoms or may have had a close contact with a positive case.  The program provides students the opportunity to reduce or waive quarantine requirements in the event of a close contact with a positive case or if the student demonstrates symptoms.  
We want all students to participate in the testing program, regardless of vaccination status.  However, parents have the opportunity to “opt out” of the program, if they so choose.  Below are links to an FAQ and the Opt-Out Form.  Forms must be printed and submitted to the Superintendent’s Office with original signatures.  Testing is scheduled to begin on Thursday, August 26, 2021.  No action is necessary for students to participate in the testing.
You can submit questions regarding the OLCHS Shield Illinois program to
Enjoy your final weekend of the summer break!
Michael Riordan, Ed.D.
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