* DeWitt Daily News yesterday…
The State of Illinois released guidance for school districts this fall in Illinois but a local State Representative is calling on the Governor to allow local districts to make their own decisions.
* WMAY yesterday…
District 186 says it is still reviewing the latest guidance from the CDC to determine the safest way to welcome all students back to classrooms for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Superintendent Jennifer Gill says the guidelines give local districts some latitude to adapt the policies based upon local facility limitations and other factors. Masks may be required for all unvaccinated students, including all students under age 12 who are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine… but Gill says she’s still looking for more clarification about whether that’s a mandate or just a recommendation.
* CBS 2…
Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced updated guidelines for schools to reopen safely — unvaccinated teachers and students will need to continue masking up, while those who are vaccinated can go without.
But as CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Monday night, a growing chorus of administrators and parents are calling on the state to leave the choice up to them.
Not one of those reporters bothered to seek out a quote from anyone in state government to respond.
* So, I asked the governor’s office about this and was told the Illinois State Board of Education sent this to schools on Saturday…
Clarifying Mask Guidance
The Illinois Department of Public Health has fully adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated guidance for schools released on July 9. View the guidance and the press release.
Q: Is masking required in schools?
A: The CDC guidance that Illinois has fully adopted for all K-12 public and nonpublic schools states: “Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated. Consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
“The CDC continues to recommend masking and physical distancing as key prevention strategies. However, if school administrators decide to remove any of the prevention strategies for their school based on local conditions, they should remove them one at a time and monitor closely (with adequate testing through the school and/or community) for any increases in COVID-19 cases. Schools should communicate their strategies and any changes in plans to teachers, staff, and families, and directly to older students, using accessible materials and communication channels, in a language and at a literacy level that teachers, staff, students, and families understand.
“Schools should work with local public health officials to determine the prevention strategies needed in their area by monitoring levels of community transmission (i.e., low, moderate, substantial, or high) and local vaccine coverage, and use of screening testing to detect cases in K-12 schools … A school in a community with substantial or high transmission, with a low teacher, staff, or student vaccination rate, and without a screening testing program should continue to require masks for people who are not fully vaccinated.”
The local districts, in other words, can make their own decisions. It’s pretty broad guidance, not a mandate. “It’s up to local control,” a Pritzker spokesperson told me. And if the schools don’t follow the guidance? “There’s nothing much we can do,” was the response.
The question comes down to liability, however. If schools don’t follow the guidance and something bad happens, then the schools could be opened up to lawsuits. It’s the chance you take and there’s not anything that Illinois can do about the CDC.
* But this myth about how kids can’t get sick is being busted wide open in Mississippi right now…
With a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant in Mississippi, health officials are encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a tweet on Tuesday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said there are 12 children in the ICU due to the Delta variant. Ten of them are on life support.
According to Dobbs, a majority of the COVID-19 cases in Mississippi are the Delta variant. He said a “vast majority” of the cases, hospitalizations and deaths are of people who have not been vaccinated.