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ETHS unveils mask, vaccination policy for new school year

Policy calls for masks in school only for the unvaccinated.

The ETHS campus.

Students and staff who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will not need to wear masks when Evanston Township High School opens for the 2021-22 school year next month.

District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon released the policy in a message on the district’s website on Thursday.

Those who are not fully vaccinated must wear masks in school, and all individuals, vaccinated or not, must wear a mask on public transportation and on school-related vehicles.

Vaccinated students and staff may wear masks inside the school building if they wish.

The ETHS rules are in line with guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois State Board of Education.

The policies also cover extracurricular activities, sports practices, rehearsals, and camps the rest of the summer as well as in the upcoming academic year.

ETHS will also maintain three feet of physical distance between students in the classroom whenever possible, combined with mask wearing for those who are not vaccinated.

Witherspoon also says that students ages 12 and up “should get vaccinated as soon as possible to be able to obtain proper documentation to attend ETHS without wearing a mask.”

Only those 12 and over are currently eligible for COVID-19 shots, which covers all high school students.

Additional information about coronavirus mitigation will be made public between now and the start of school.

ETHS was on remote learning due to COVID-19 from mid-March, 2020 through mid-April of this year, when some students returned under hybrid system.

Evanston/Skokie District 65 is requiring masks for everyone in school buildings, students and staff, when school opens, because the majority of the district’s K-8 students are younger than 12.

District 65 was also on remote education for most of the same period as District 202, although District 65’s hybrid program started a couple of months earlier.

Jeff Hirsh

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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