In light of new guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control, Evanston Township High School expects to revise its current rule that students, faculty and staff must wear masks when inside the high school building.
Those new guidelines say that anyone who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer needs to wear a mask in school. Unvaccinated individuals, however, are still supposed to mask up.
Superintendent Eric Witherspoon told the District 202 Board of Education this morning that the Illinois Department of Public Health has incorporated the new guidelines, and ETHS will “vigorously” analyze the information.
Witherspoon told Evanston Now the Illinois State Board of Education is also endorsing the guidelines, and ETHS expects to “incorporate a great deal” of the recommendations.
“It looks like everybody is going to incorporate as much as possible,” he added.
The guidelines continue to recommend three feet of social distancing between students.
One major question yet to be answered is how schools can determine who is vaccinated and who is not.
School districts are also supposed to monitor community spread of the coronavirus to determine whether additional hygiene measures, or perhaps even masks for all, should be implemented.
Witherspoon noted that Evanston has among the highest vaccination rates in the area. “We can feel a higher level of confidence” than many other districts, he said.
Evanston health statistics show 77% of city residents are fully vaccinated.
Whatever changes ETHS may make will be announced in advance and will begin this fall. Because summer school ends this Wednesday there will be no modifications of mask policies for just a few days.
Only those ages 12 and over are currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, which covers all high schoolers.
12+ also covers some students in middle school, but Evanston/Skokie District 65, which also has several thousand elementary and middle school students under 12, has not announced yet how it will handle the mask/no mask guidelines.