The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District decided to drop its COVID-19 vaccination requirement for staff.
During a Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Sept. 6, the board voted unanimously to drop the requirement that the board put in place a year ago. The board was cautiously reopening its facilities in 2021 and decided, as places for health and wellness, that staff should be vaccinated.
Parks Executive Director Debbie Kopas said several staff left, rather than comply. Several asked for exemptions to the mandate because of allergies and health conditions, but she said after visiting their doctors all came back with paperwork that they’d received the vaccine.
“I think (the policy) worked well for us,” Kopas told commissioners. “People were more comfortable at work.” In her proposal to drop the requirement, Kopas credited the policy for allowing “the district to continue providing services without super spreader incidents among the staff.” She also noted that vaccines are now available for children.
Board Chairman Brent Bachus said the board put the policy in place because the park district staff were receiving questions about whether staff at park facilities were vaccinated. Of late, staff at the H-F Racquet & Fitness Club haven’t received any questions about staff vaccinations.
Booster shots are recommended but will not be mandated. Masks are optional.
In other business, the board approved two contracts for work at the H-F Ice Arena:
- $8,500 to A&A Sprinkler for the fire suppression work. This bid came in $6,500 under budget.
- $164,900 to Efraim Carlson & Sons, Inc. for general trades work. This bid came in $64,800 over budget, in part because the scope of the work changed from original projections. This work will include carpentry, doors, flooring, overhead doors and fencing.
Kopas said some of the work may be scaled back to reduce expenses. Overall, the park district is staying within its $7 million budget for the ice arena project that includes a new ice making system.
The board agreed to purchase a new John Deere machine with cab that will replace a 22-year-old piece of equipment. The machine will be used primarily for snow removal. The park district will purchase the equipment from AHW, LLC, of Manteno for $25,788.63. Since this was originally priced at $22,000 in March, the cost has gone up nearly $4,000.
The board also shared information on its efforts to change to LED lighting where possible. The lights will be replaced at Lions Club Pool. The work will cost $10,993.72, but by using a grant from Com Ed the park district’s cost will be $98.87.