Evanston/Skokie School District 65 has announced that it will no longer require students to wear masks when outdoors.
During the public comment portion of the Jan. 31 school board meeting, some parents had spoken up in favor of making masks optional when students are outdoors. On Feb. 11, the district announced it would do just that.
The district sent an email to families late Friday afternoon notifying them that the policy change would take effect Monday, Feb. 14. Here is the text of the district email:
Dear District 65 Community –
We have made the decision, in consultation with our medical advisors and local health department, to lift outdoor masking requirements for the time being. This decision is based on decreasing COVID-19 cases within our schools and community and also the science that the risk of transmission outdoors is extremely low. This decision applies to students, staff, and visitors and will go into effect on Monday, February 14.
In accordance with Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines, students and staff returning to school from isolation or quarantine after five days must continue to wear masks at all times, including outdoors (days 6-10).
Students should continue to maintain physical distancing when outdoors and unmasked, especially during arrival, dismissal, and at recess.
Those who feel more comfortable wearing a mask outdoors are encouraged to do so. We ask that any individuals who remain unvaccinated or not up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations continue to mask outdoors when distancing cannot be maintained.
Masks continue to be required indoors, except when eating. This includes when entering/exiting the building and in classrooms and other common spaces.
In the event there is another surge within our community or there is any evidence of increased transmission within our schools, the decision may be made to require masking outdoors. Any updates will be shared with our community.
Health and safety continues to be a top priority for our team. We will continue to follow the science and the advice and guidance of our local health departments, medical advisors, and public officials. Thank you for your continued support.
With health in mind,
Dr. Devon Horton
Source: District 65