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Mask mandate for H-F students, staff, guests (free content)

Superintendent Von Mansfield told Homewood-Flossmoor High School board members that for the safety of all persons on H-F premises masks will be required this school year.

School opens Thursday, Aug. 12, for freshmen, sophomores and transfer students. All students will report on Friday, Aug. 13. Under state guidelines, there is not a hybrid option for remote learning this year. All students will be at school, unless they are medically unable to do so.

Mansfield shared the information at a special District 233 board meeting on July 31. He said he has surveyed districts in the South Suburbs, and each district is making its own decision. 

He said the latest guidance is that if everyone is masked and a case of COVID occurs, the mandated close-contact contact tracing isn’t necessary. Also, if everyone is masked and someone tests positive for COVID, the quarantine period may be reduced to five days. Previous guidelines said 10-14 days for quarantine.

Mansfield said the schedule for students using bus service has been moved up approximately 20 minutes earlier than in previous years. He previously reported that fewer students are taking the 7:30 a.m. “E” period classes. The regular school schedule is 8:30 to 3 p.m.

Superintendent-elect Scott Wakeley told board members the district received about 1,000 parent responses to the district’s most recent survey. From the responses the district is expecting between 75% and 80% of the students will have been vaccinated.

Sports teams will follow the same guidelines as last year – masked during training sessions. Spectators at H-F sporting events will be mandated to wear masks.

H-F is also considering doing COVID testing for athletes because of their close contact with others from outside of H-F. Wakeley said the district is investigating the SHIELD test, the same one administered at the University of Illinois. He said a final decision on an H-F testing policy is at least four weeks off.

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