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29 school districts, including one in Winnebago Co. on probation for not complying with mask mandate

(AP Photo/LM Otero)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 12:36 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) - “These districts confirmed that they were not complying with the universal indoor masking requirement,” ISBE spokeswoman Jackie Matthews says. “These districts now have the opportunity to meet with ISBE and to submit a corrective action plan to address the deficiencies that are presenting a danger to students and staff.

Over the course of the last week, the Illinois State Board of Education has put 29 school districts on probation for defying Gov. J.B Pritzker’s mask mandate issued on August 4 for students in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The districts are in Adams, Clay, Clinton, Edwards, Effingham, Franklin, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Jefferson, Knox, Livingston, Macon, Marion, Peoria, Randolph and Wayne Counties. Here in Winnebago County, the Durand School District is the only district on that list.

This comes after they previously announced they would begin the school year with mask-wearing being optional.

Losing recognition status also means that graduating seniors’ diplomas will not be acknowledged by the state.

The ISBE says that any school district that doesn’t submit an approvable plan will lose recognition status. This means there will be a total loss of access to state funding in addition to not being about to participate in IHSA and IESA sports.

The Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics are recommending masks inside to keep kids safe in schools as the highly infectious delta variant of COVID-19 is surging across the U.S.

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