COVID-19, Local, Science

Mask Mandate to Continue at Rich Township SD 227

mask mandate, School mask debate

Matteson, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The decision of a Sangamon County judge regarding Gov. Pritzger’s mask mandate does not affect Rich Township School District 227. This is according to a statement from the district’s superintendent Dr. Johnnie Thomas. It appears School District 163 will also continue with masks in school, according to a statement on the district’s website.

“Hello Rich Township District 227 Families,” Superintendent Thomas wrote, “As you may be aware, on Friday, Sangamon County Judge Raylene DeWitte Grischow issued a ruling related to the governor’s mask mandate for schools. 

“Rich Township High School District 227 was not one of the districts named in the lawsuits that were presented to Judge Grischow, so her ruling does not affect the day-to-day operations in our district. All Rich Township 227 students, staff, and visitors are required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth while in our school buildings and must adhere to all Covid mitigation policies. 

“We are committed to the health and safety of our students and our staff. Wearing a properly fitting mask is one of the mitigation strategies that our district uses to reduce the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks in our buildings. Thanks to our overlapping mitigation strategies (masks, distancing, cleaning) we have been able to identify, mitigate, and control the spread of Covid within our school system.”

Dr. Thomas wrote that the district defers to guidelines from the CDC: “Our mask mandate allows the district to follow the CDC’s reduced quarantine time when there is a close contact and seat students closer than 6 feet in the classroom. This seating is particularly important as not all of our classrooms can meet the six-foot requirement with 100 percent attendance. If the district did not require masks, it could affect the amount of time students spend in our buildings as well as the health of students and staff.”

“We appreciate that our community has continued to support these mitigation practices,” Dr. Thomas wrote. “The district, in partnership with our local, state and federal health departments, will continue to monitor health conditions to determine when it might be the appropriate time to remove any mitigation strategies. The community would have advanced notice of any changes in mitigation practices.”

The statement on Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163’s website reads, “We continue to prioritize the health and safety of all staff and students.  Please partner with us by monitoring your child’s health daily. We are also requesting that you assist us with health monitoring by signing the Testing Consent Form for your child to have a  weekly COVID test at school. We will continue to always wear masks, promote healthy habits, clean our facilities, and monitor the health of our school community. Thank you for helping us navigate through these challenging times.”

The district then refers questions to [email protected].

There is no new information on the websites of Matteson School District 162 or Crete-Monee School District 201-U.