PARIS/ ROBINSON, Il (WTWO/WAWV) — After months of virtual and hybrid learning, schools across Illinois are expected to be fully in person for the upcoming academic year.
The Illinois Department of Health plans to adhere to the newest COVID-19 school related guidelines from the CDC, including:
- No mask requirements for fully vaccinated students or teachers
- Anyone over two years old not vaccinated must wear a mask indoors
- A social distance of three feet must be kept
Remote learning will continue under special circumstances, like students not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, if a student is not eligible for a shot, health concerns, or needing to quarantine.
Josh Quick, superintendent of Robinson Schools, said one concern he has is guideline enforcement.
“That’s going to make a huge difference in our planning, whether the masks are mandated for those not vaccinated, fully vaccinated, or recommended,” Quick said. “That’s going to be a hinge for us.”
Quick added that the Robinson School District has a COVID-19 Task Force that will be mobilized to begin discussing the framework of the upcoming school year.
“Last year, we were going into the school year starting from the very beginning. Now, we have things last year we did that we liked that we’ll keep,” he said. “These new guidelines are a step in the right direction. Like a step towards a normal school year.”
Those procedures that will be continued include, how students are dismissed and keeping cleaning procedures.
For some students, being vaccinated is currently not possible due to age restrictions or health concerns.
Superintendent of Paris Union School District #95 Jeremy Larson said he would like to see local authorities be responsible for implementing COVID-19 protocols.
“There should be the potential of not having people wear masks or maybe easing on up those restrictions,” he said. “If you start to see numbers increases, we should have that conversation with our local health departments and take required measures.”
Prior to the IDPH and CDC’s decision regarding masks, Larson said he wrote the Illinois State Board of Education and Governor J.B. Pritzker letters, both thanking them for their efforts in dealing with COVID-19 and asking for local control in implementing COVID-19 safety strategies.
“We believe local boards of education and superintendents are in the best position to decide how COVID-19 protocols should occur.” He adds. “I think having a broad approach for the entire state saying this is a requirement for everyone, I don’t think that’s appropriate,” Larson said.
More information regarding how new guidelines will be enforced is expected to be known within the coming weeks.