District 158 passes COVID-19 mitigation resolution

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District 158
(Photo: Josh Bootsma)
BY JIM MASTERS — EDUCATION REPORTER

LANSING, Ill. (July 25, 2021) — What COVID-19 measures must Lansing School District 158 students, teachers, and staff follow when they return for the 2021-2022 school year?

With the COVID-19 Delta variant raging in the United States, particularly among unvaccinated people, in-school protocols remain a moving target for now. However, what protections and rules District 158 will have in place will be their own decision to make.

On Wednesday, the District 158 Board of Education adopted a resolution that allows the district control of COVID-19 mitigation measures, in consultation with local public health officials. The Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is leaving it up to local school districts to determine what is in their best interests in establishing COVID-19 protocols.

According to the resolution, District 158 does not have to require vaccinated individuals to wear a mask inside school buildings but may do so at their discretion. “Local school boards should recommend unvaccinated individuals wear a mask in school buildings,” the resolution states. Currently, summer school students and teachers are required to wear masks.

In accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and IDPH recommendations, District 158 will monitor community COVID-19 transmission and vaccination rates, which will inform its decisions as the school year progresses.

Dr. Nathan Schilling, Superintendent of Schools, said he will have a better idea during the first week of August about what protocols will be in place for the start of the school on August 18.

“We’re going to use the guidance provided, but the guidance is not necessarily going to dictate what we do,” Schilling said. “We know Lansing best, and we will figure out what’s best for District 158. The governor has taken a similar stance in support of local control.”

He noted at the board meeting that three-foot social distancing will likely be required inside school buildings.

District 158 is headquartered at 18300 Greenbay Avenue, Lansing, IL.