In an effort to remain as responsive and transparent as possible, I am sharing one more message on face masks as a form of District 67 and District 115 COVID-19 risk mitigation for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
A small group of community members continue to challenge the District's position on this state mandate. I will once more provide clarification.
Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) require school districts to mandate face coverings in school and on school district property when physical distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained. For athletics, IDPH, ISBE, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) require all participants who can medically tolerate a face covering to wear one at all times, including during competition and other active exercise, regardless of whether the activity is outdoors.
Ability to Enforce State Mandate
Compliance with IDPH and ISBE guidance for public schools is mandatory. Separate from ISBE enforcement action, the IDPH has the authority to close schools to prevent the probable spread of a dangerously contagious or infectious disease and can do so without consent or court order if, in the reasonable judgment of the IDPH, immediate action is required to protect the public from a dangerously contagious or infectious disease.
If the District were to announce a change that would allow individuals outdoors on District property to go without face coverings, regardless of physical distancing and participation in athletics, we would be in conflict with current IDPH, ISBE, and DCEO guidance.
Finally, the guidelines at issue are not Lake County Health Department guidelines. As direction from the State of Illinois evolves over the summer we will continue to keep our community updated and welcome your feedback and engagement.
Shifting Our Focus
For now, with just six days of school left, I encourage us as a school community to shift our focus to a unified recognition of what our students have accomplished in this challenging year. They have shown resilience and resolve, and through their hard work and the support of teachers, staff, and family, they have grown in amazing ways — in spite of a global pandemic.
We celebrate you and your students and remain grateful for your support.