Update on Health Guidance for 2021-22
July 12, 2021
Dear District 65 Community -
Late last week the Illinois Department of Public Health announced their full adoption of the updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to health guidance for K-12 schools. Several important takeaways are as follows:
- Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated.
- Schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk.
- Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including students, teachers, staff, and other members of their households.
At this time, masks are still required to be worn in district buildings, regardless of vaccination status. We are currently working through the newly released guidance with our leadership team in consultation with our medical advisors and local health department officials. We will update our guidance accordingly and will release 2021-22 health and safety measures and protocols in the coming weeks. I can assure you that we will provide ample notice, resources, and support to ensure a smooth, safe start to our new school year.
As part of today’s update, I would also like to remind our staff and families that we are just over six weeks away from the first day of school! Vaccinations are still the strongest form of protection from COVID-19 according to the CDC and IDPH and have proven to be safe and effective. They are also free and available regardless of immigration status. For those who are eligible (ages 12+), the time is now to get one in order to be considered fully vaccinated for the start of the new school year. I strongly encourage all of those eligible, including our middle school students, to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Opportunities are currently available through the City of Evanston, Village of Skokie, and Cook County. Also check with your local pharmacy or healthcare provider.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. I hope you are enjoying a safe and relaxing summer!
With health in mind,
Dr. Devon Horton