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District 215 to require masks at start of school year, TFS will soon revisit renaming process

by Jim Masters

LANSING, Ill. (July 31, 2021) — When TF South students return to school on August 17, everyone in the building will be masked.

The Thornton Fractional Township Board of Education made that decision at its monthly meeting on July 27. In doing so, they adhered to Centers for Disease Control guidance, TF South Principal Jacob Gourley explained. The mask mandate also extends to students on buses.

“We will encourage three-foot distancing as much as possible,” he said. “But there will be times where that is not feasible.”

The school board’s adoption of COVID-19 related protocols does not include a mandate for teachers and staff vaccinations. “That’s kind of just left up to them,” Gourley said, adding that vaccinations are strongly encouraged, however.

District 215 COVID-19 practices include CDC guidelines, stating:

  • Screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.
  • Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care.
  • Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. Layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect people who are not fully vaccinated are emphasized, including students, teachers, staff, and other members of their households.

Name game

The school board did not address the TF South school nickname issue at its July meeting, having voted 4-2 last month against adopting the moniker “Redwolves.” Gourley said TF South would not be re-initiating the naming process until students return to school for the fall semester.

“Right now, the focus is just returning to in-person learning,” he said. “So, once we get that developed we’ll dive into some other things.”


Jim Masters
Jim Masters
Jim Masters grew up on 191st Street in Lansing. He attended Nathan Hale Elementary, was a member of St. Ann Church, graduated with the first graduating class at Heritage Middle School, and graduated from TF South High School in 1981. Inspired by his journalism teacher Joe Hyde, Jim earned a BA in Journalism from Northern Illinois University. He has more than 25 years of experience as beat reporter, specializing in government, politics, criminal justice, human interest stories, and education.