Local News

District 153 hold special meeting on COVID-19 mask, vaccine mandates

The District 153 school board will meet in special session at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6, to discuss the Sangamon County judge’s decision to drop mandated vaccines and mask-wearing in schools.

The meeting is open to the public. The session will be conducted at the Dale Mitchell Administrative center conference room on the west side of James Hart School, 182nd and Aberdeen.

The judge’s ruling on Friday restricts schools from requiring unvaccinated staff to provide weekly negative COVID-19 test results, and drops the Illinois Department of Public Health requirement that students with a confirmed COVID-19 case or those who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 follow quarantine rules.

The District 153 school board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Homewood Education Association in September calling for all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The state was planning to appeal the decision. Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Board of Education put the mask mandate in place last school year as an executive order. The lawsuit argues the legislature should be setting parameters, not the governor.

Both the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers said the rules on vaccines and mandates are helping keep schools open and save places for students and staff.

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