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Changes to West Central C.U.S.D. #235's COVID-19 Mitigations

Good evening West Central Families, 

On Friday, February 4, Judge Grischow ruled on a lawsuit that challenged state-mandated COVID-19 mitigations. The ruling implemented a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that ruled on:

  1. IDPH Emergency Rules
  2. ISBE Emergency Rules
  3. Issues related to lawsuits filed by both parents and teachers.

As a result of the TRO, the following is effective immediately and until such time as there is a trial pending the merits of the case or the TRO is modified or dissolved:

  1. Use of masks for students and teachers is not required except during the terms of a lawful order of quarantine issued from Henderson County Health Department, in accordance with the IDPH Act.
  2. Weekly negative test results for staff in order to occupy the school building are not required.
  3. Exclusion of school district personnel or students for specified periods of time if the teacher or student is deemed a "close contact" of a confirmed probable COVID-19 case will not occur without due process to that individual unless the local health department has deemed the individual a close contact after following the procedures outlined in 20 ILCS 2305 and 77 Ill. Adm. Code 690.1330.

On Page 16 of the TRO, Judge Grischow stated the COVID-related policies of each school district will have to be addressed on a case by a case basis, be subject to school district's policies that were presented to the school board at a public meeting, and subject to public comment, as well as the Open Meetings Act.

West Central met this requirement and all requirements of the TRO with the mask optional  2021-2022 Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services plan approved by the Board of Education at its August meeting, with the exception of the transportation masking requirement which is hereby suspended during the TRO. As such, West Central will revert immediately to this plan for all COVID-related issues not specifically addressed in the TRO, until such time as there is a trial pending the merits of the case or the TRO is modified or dissolved.

The board meeting scheduled for Sunday, February 6 has been cancelled.

Throughout this pandemic, West Central has followed current orders, prioritizing the health and safety of our students and staff, while working to provide a quality in person education. As we continue to navigate through this pandemic, we will continue to do so to the best of our ability.

It is important to keep in mind that this situation is very fluid and may require us to pivot quickly. We will continue to keep you updated as soon and as much as possible.

As always we continue to ask for your patience and understanding as we review decisions from the courts as they are made and navigate the latest changes to the COVID-19 guidance and rules for Illinois schools as they come.

Thank you for your continued support of our students and staff.

In Partnership, 

Paula Markey

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