Evanston Township High School District 202 is resuming its face mask requirement, citing the city’s heightened COVID-19 risk level as local cases rise.
ETHS families were notified of the decision Sunday afternoon in an email sent by Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. The change from masks recommended to masks required began Monday, May 16.
Following is the text of the email:
On May 13, the Evanston Health and Human Services Department communicated that it elevated the COVID-19 Community Risk Level from Medium to High, based on weekly Evanston metrics and the combination of three metrics per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In response to the updated High COVID-19 Community Risk Level status and guidance from the Evanston Health and Human Services Department, as well as in alignment with CDC recommendations, ETHS will be transitioning from masks highly recommended to masks required in the building beginning tomorrow, Monday, May 16.
Please note the following updated ETHS COVID-19 protocols:
- All ETHS students and staff – regardless of vaccination status – will be required to wear masks indoors at this time. Should conditions change, ETHS will adjust and communicate updates.
- To help reduce the spread of the virus, everyone must do their part. Students and staff are asked to hold each other in loving accountability to properly wear a mask over their nose and mouth while inside the ETHS building.
- Masks may be removed briefly to sip or take a bite of food, and immediately placed back over the nose and mouth while chewing and swallowing.
- Masks are expected to be worn in all spaces inside the school, including hallways, restrooms, and during passing periods.
- Students will be reminded if they are noted as not properly masked, and additional intervention will be provided as needed to ensure proper mask wearing.
- Please follow Your Guide to Masks from the CDC and select face masks that:
- Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
- Completely cover your nose and mouth
- Fit snugly against the sides of your face and don’t have gaps
- Have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask
Note: If you wear a gaiter, ensure it has two layers, or fold it to make two layers. Face shields are NOT recommended.
- Stay home if you are ill or have new or different symptoms, including but not limited to fever, sore throat, loss of sense of smell, muscle or body aches, new cough, vomiting, or diarrhea. For more details, visit the Health & Wellness page on the ETHS website.
- If your child has tested positive for COVID, please email the Nurses Office at email@example.com or call 847-424-7260.
- Contact Tracing steps will be followed.
ETHS District 202 continues to consult the guidance from CDC, IDPH, the Evanston Health Department, and the ETHS Medical Advisory Group. As we closely monitor local and regional COVID data, we want to share some important reminders:
- Get vaccinated. Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging.
- Get boosted. Boosters are critical to combatting new COVID-19 variants and subvariants and staff, families, and any students already eligible should get boosted.
- Get tested. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur.
We appreciate your commitment in showing care for our students, our staff and our community, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available during these last two weeks of school.
Eric Witherspoon, Ph.D.