CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s weeks away from a brand new college yr as college students put together to move again to class.
And there’s a brand new COVID controversy: Whether or not unvaccinated college students needs to be required to masks up.
Whereas the CDC recommends it, CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey experiences, in the end the choice lies with native college boards.
And a few have opted to drop masks necessities altogether.
This week, District 200 in Wheaton opted to make masks elective for all college students, which didn’t sit effectively with everybody.
Some mother and father even rallied outdoors the superintendent’s workplace Friday afternoon.
The march to the Neighborhood Unit Faculty District 200 constructing on Friday was prompted by a vote earlier this week to make masks elective.
It’s diverging from the CDC’s current advice that solely college students and lecturers who’re absolutely vaccinated ought to drop the masks.
“I believed it was a no brainer on the elementary college stage. I believed my daughter can be going to high school within the first grade and everybody can be sporting a masks within the room.”
District 200 mother Ronak Maisuria.
“It’s not about my household, that is about our neighborhood,” added fellow District 200 mother Jessica Banaszek.
They organized some like-minded mother and father who nonetheless plan to masks their kids, however fear that gained’t be sufficient to safeguard their well being.
“So proper now I’m telling you I’m not sending my baby again to high school on August 23,” stated Banaszek. “They’ve their alternative, however their alternative takes away the protection of everybody round them.”
The subject is polarizing, to say the least.
My e mail inbox was flooded with emails from mother and father who firmly assist the district’s determination to make masks elective.
Arguing that the choice needs to be a private one, as much as each household, and tailor-made to the wants of every pupil.
One mother stated most of her outrage is aimed toward Gov. JB Pritzker.
“He can rise up and say ‘I’m going to mandated masks inside the state of Illinois for unvaccinated people, at the least,” stated District 200 father or mother Ronak Maisuria.
CBS 2 reached out to Governor Pritzker’s workplace in regards to the concern.
A spokesperson stated they assist the CDC steerage. Including…
“Faculty districts that select to ignore this steerage not solely are placing college students and employees in danger, but in addition taking over terribly costly legal responsibility.”
The district’s superintendent declined CBS 2’s interview request and as an alternative, despatched a press release on the choice that was shared with mother and father.
It listed a number of extra precautions that shall be taken, together with three-feet of social distancing and required masks on buses.
Under is the response from Gov. Pritzker’s workplace:
From the outset of the pandemic, Governor Pritzker’s choices have been guided by public well being officers and science.
Illinois is following the suggestions of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, which embody a advice that every one unvaccinated people put on masks.
Faculty districts that select to ignore this steerage not solely are placing college students and employees in danger, but in addition taking over terribly costly legal responsibility.
Under is the assertion from District 200 Superintendent Jeff Schuler:
District 200 Faculty Neighborhood,
In August, all 20 of our faculties shall be open 5 days per week. We glance ahead, to the most effective of our capability, to a standard college expertise. We’re additionally dedicated to returning college students and employees to high school in a secure method.
Following the lately launched up to date steerage to varsities from the Centers from Disease Control (CDC) and the adoption of that steerage by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Training (ISBE), I supplied the Board with an replace on the upcoming 2021-22 Faculty 12 months ultimately night time’s Board of Training Assembly. The full presentation update can be found at this link.
The brand new steerage prioritizes in-person studying; recommends layering mitigations, gives suggestions and provides districts some native management over choices relating to layered mitigations. As I also shared last night, our native well being information in DuPage County continues to be sturdy. As reported by the DuPage County Well being Division, greater than 80% of eligible residents in DuPage have obtained their first dose of vaccine and 98% of residents over the age of 65 have obtained their first dose. Our native well being information is compelling and demonstrates our readiness to maneuver into a brand new section of layered mitigation.
After a radical dialogue, the Board of Training accepted our advice to proceed:
- Bodily distancing at 3 ft
- At-home COVID-19 symptom monitoring
- Hand hygiene practices
- Cleansing and disinfecting practices
- Adequacy of air flow and filtration programs
- Masks required on buses
- Contact tracing at 3 ft
- Knowledge monitoring and case reporting
- Optionally available COVID-19 testing
- Sharing data relating to vaccine alternatives for these eligible
Moreover, per the up to date steerage, districts do have the native management to take away mitigation methods based mostly on native circumstances. If districts select to take away mitigations, they need to be eliminated one by one and monitored carefully.
The Board additionally accepted our advice that the primary prevention technique we carry is necessary mask-wearing in any respect grade ranges, because it gives people (each college students and employees) and households a option to proceed sporting a face overlaying ought to they wish to make that alternative. Our directors and employees will be sure that our faculties stay secure, caring and respectful studying environments which might be supportive of a person’s alternative on mask-wearing. As adults, we’ve got a chance to mannequin that habits for our college students.
As we strategy the beginning of the 2021-22 Faculty 12 months, I acknowledge that there are nonetheless quite a few questions our college neighborhood could have. We’re nonetheless working by gathering extra data and readability from our well being authorities and I sit up for sharing extra data as we close to the beginning of faculty. Whereas the approaching college yr will certainly feel and look like a extra conventional college yr, we should nonetheless stay vigilant in following our layered mitigations to maintain our college students and employees wholesome and secure.
I hope that every one college students, households and employees are taking the time to relaxation and recharge this summer time as we prepare for a model new college yr.