In a Tuesday night email to students and families, Evanston Township High School District 202 announced that it will move to a mask-optional policy as of Monday, Feb. 28.
The State of Illinois and many jurisdictions are easing mask requirements in public settings as the COVID-19 pandemic eases. Mask-wearing for students continues to be a very contentious issue, with courts rejecting Governor J.B. Pritzker’s statewide school mandate.
“ETHS is prepared to make a safe transition as strategies evolve,” said the ETHS email, sent by Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “We will continue to take a cautious and measured approach.”
Following is the full text of the email:
Dear Students & Parents/Guardians: ETHS District 202 continues to consult the guidance from CDC, IDPH, the Evanston Health Department, D65, and the ETHS Medical Advisory Group as we closely monitor local and regional guidance. Due to the lack of clarity and the fluidity about the state mandates, ETHS highly recommends, but does not mandate, wearing masks while indoors for all students and staff as of February 28, 2022.
- We are expecting updates from the CDC, IDPH, ISBE, and the City of Evanston in the coming days. We will consider next steps as details become available.
- ETHS is prepared to make a safe transition as strategies evolve. We will continue to take a cautious and measured approach.
While the pandemic is not over, the decline of COVID cases at the high school and in the community, along with lower transmission rates, support a timeline for a transition.
- As of today, February 22, 94% of ETHS students have submitted proof of vaccination; 95% of ETHS staff have submitted proof of vaccination. The City of Evanston vaccination rate is 96.9 percent for residents 5 years and older (at least one dose) and 86.9 percent of residents are fully vaccinated.
- The COVID positive rate for ETHS as a whole (students and staff) is currently less than one-half of a percent.
- ETHS will also continue other mitigation strategies such as daily cleaning/sanitizing, maximizing air exchange, maintaining off-campus lunch for all students, contact tracing, and limiting capacity at events/performances.
- For ETHS students, we will transition to COVID testing every other week, beginning February 28. Weekly testing will be available for all students and staff who wish to drop in. More information about the COVID testing structure will be provided.
- Health guidance continues to emphasize vaccinations, boosters, and wearing a mask over your nose and mouth to get the highest degree of protection against COVID. ETHS highly values and supports these steps for individuals who are concerned about the mask-recommended phase.
- It remains important to stay at home if you are sick or have symptoms.
We appreciate your cooperation and patience as strategies shift and change. We know that there will be questions and additional details to address at ETHS during this transition phase. We will continue to keep you informed of the latest developments related to COVID response efforts. Thank you to our students and staff who continue to show so much care and support for everyone in our Wildkit community.
Eric Witherspoon, Ph.D.
Source: District 202
Bravo! Thank you Eric and ETHS Board, I didn’t think you had it in ya. And for those opposed: permanent masking in the schools was the abusive and inhumane destination of this sleepwalk. Reimagine your school years: would-be boyfriends, girlfriends, or just plain friends that would have been merely a pair of eyes and a surgical mask. Those important relationships never would have happened. I want to see young people hugging, kissing, and deeply inhaling each other’s pheromones. These are the elements of teenage social development nobody wants to talk about but social distancing is, and always was, toxic to teens. You don’t get somethin, for nothin’ in this world. The CDC has treated all of us like diseased farm animals since the beginning: separating us, and providing for food (open grocery stores while the schools were closed) and shelter (barring landlords from collecting rent) but nothing more. We are not farm animals. Are we?
Comments are closed.