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Masks will once again be required inside Evanston Township High School, effective on Monday.

In a website message, ETHS says this is “in response to the updated High Community Risk Level status,” advice from the local health department, plus guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control.

The mandate applies to all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status. Masks had been highly recommended since the mandate was lifted in early March.

The community risk status is based on three metrics: new hospital admissions over the past seven days, percentage of inpatient beds occupied by COVID patients, and the total number of new cases per 100,000 population in the past seven day period as well.

Ironically, the number of positive student and staff cases at ETHS is basically unchanged over the past week, according to the school’s COVID dashboard, from 52 as of May 2, to 49 as of May 9.

Evanston/Skokie District 65’s positivty numbers are also close to unchanged over the most recent reporting periods, from 170 cases in one week to 166 the next.

However, Northwestern University has seen a large increase, from 302 new cases for the week ending May 5, to 450 the week ending May 12. NU’s most recent positivity rate is a high 9.28%.

(Note- District 202, District 65, and Northwestern have slightly different dashboard reporting dates, although they are all close to each other).

ETHS says it will continue to monitor the situation, and “should conditions change” the rules might be altered again.

Both District 65 and Northwestern are also monitoring the COVID numbers, and while both continue to recommend indoor masking, neither of them has moved back to a requirement.

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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