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The city of Evanston has moved from the “high” level of COVID-19 transmission to “medium,” according to information provided to the city/school liason committee on Wednesday evening.

A city representative said the Health and Human Services department is expected to release a further update Thursday.

On Monday of this week, Evanston Township High School reinstituted its indoor mask mandate, because of the increased level of COVID in the community.

However, after the change was mentioned in the meeting, ETHS superintendent Eric Witherspoon said once the school is officially notified they may drop the mask requirement.

Indoor masking would still remain “recommended.”

While Evanston has one of the highest COVID vaccination rates in the state, and probably in the nation, a recent change in how the CDC determines transmission levels may be why Evanston moved to a “high” status.

Test positivity rate is no longer included in the formula. Instead, number of new cases per 100,000 population over the last seven days, COVID hospital admissions, and percentage of hospital beds with COVID patients are used to determine the matrix.

District 65 board president Sergio Hernandez noted that the pandemic is “still not over.”

Hernandez said minority children along with low income white children are among the least vaccinated members of the community.

He suggested having a vaccination clinic for youngsters ages 5-11 over the summer.

Hernandez also said he’d like to see the schools issue KN-95 masks instead of surgical masks as they do now, because the surgical masks provide less protection.

The city/school committee is made up of city, ETHS, and District 202 officials, who meet periodically to discuss how the institutions can cooperate.

Update: Evanston Township High School announced late Thursday that starting Friday masks will no longer be required inside the school. Masks continue to be highly recommended. The school is basing the change on the reduction in Community Risk Level.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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