decision-making matrix

What do I do if...

It is important to note the following:
  • While Bernard Zell has done everything possible to eliminate risk, no environment can be totally risk-free. Please click here to read our notice of risk of in-person instruction
  • CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Chicago Department of Public Health update their guidance very frequently. BZ will update its own guidance accordingly and seek to provide clarification when guidance conflicts or is ambiguous. 
  • A wellness tracker will provide guidance around staying at home, but it does not diagnose COVID-19. 
  • Cold symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms in children are extremely similar. Because of this, a wellness tracker is as likely to flag a student with multiple cold symptoms and allergies as COVID-19. We ask that parents and faculty exercise an abundance of caution and keep both the student and siblings home, and contact your physician.
  • The Chicago Department of Public Health now recommends that all symptomatic students be tested for COVID-19.
  • A rapid test is not considered sufficient to return the student to school, and we ask that students wait to return pending a standard molecular PCR test.
  • Faculty and parents will be informed if they or their student has had a close contact with someone with a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19 -- this is defined as a primary exposure.  We do not report to families if your child has had a secondary exposure, i.e., that they have been in contact with someone who has had a primary exposure, but is not a suspected or diagnosed case of COVID-19. We will inform the school broadly when we have a case, but no specific identifying information will be provided.
  • Close contact is defined by the CDC as an encounter within 6’ feet for more than 15 minutes cumulatively, starting from 48 hours before symptom onset or specimen collection of a confirmed diagnosis. Direct contact (such as being sneezed on) may also qualify as close contact even if the encounter was less than 15 minutes. Please visit and Illinois State Board of Education for more information on what qualifies as close contact.
  • It is important to note then that in some divisions, students and faculty in a cohort may not always meet the definition of close contact (primary exposure) if social distancing is maintained. Per ISBE/IDPH guidance, if someone in the cohort tests positive, only students or faculty who were within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes need to isolate. However, CDPH recommends the entire student cohort stay home if there is any doubt. 
  • Self-isolation for a contact of a contact (e.g., siblings or family members) is not required nor recommended by IDPH, CDPH, or the CDC. We ask that an exposed student isolate within the home; e.g., not share utensils, wear masks even in the home if 6' distancing is not possible, and have a dedicated bathroom and bedroom. We will be asking siblings to stay home if these isolation guidelines cannot be maintained. 
  • We strongly recommend that anyone who has had a primary exposure be tested 5-9 days after that exposure for COVID-19. Testing before that 5-9 day window may result in a false negative. Testing will not, however, release a student from quarantine.
  • Always contact your family physician to let them know if you have sought testing and, if returning after a positive diagnosis, confirm your ability to return to school.
For further guidance, please review IDPH’s guidance on close contact and isolation as well as IDPH/ISBE Exclusion Decision Tree.