By CHRISTY JANKOWSKI
At first like many schools, Bement’s reopening plan for students this fall stated masks optional. With Governor Pritzger’s mask mandate for schools, that changed. Masks are now required for all students and faculty. However, the district is able to maintain a full day in person schedule. Remote is not an option this year at this time, unless a documented medical reason is given.
During Wednesday, August 11th’s regularly scheduled meeting the retiring Superintendent Sheila Greenwood stated if the district did not follow the mask mandate, “That can include, but not limited to, schools are going to lose their insurance carrier so they won’t have insurance”
She added, “Another thing is if you lose your recognition for ISBE you can’t do any IHSA sports or IESA, and that is one of the first steps ISBE takes if you choose to make masks optional and don’t follow the mandate and you lose your recognition status.”
In addition to the ISBE and IHSA the district would be held liable if anyone were to get sick. Greenwood stated, “We also would be liable for criminal charges or civil charges if we against the school district, against board members, against the administrators, because we have gone against the law and we would be found negligent and willfully responsible…Another thing is if anyone would become ill or die you would lose your TORT immunity and found guilty of court of law.”
“Basically it could close down schools.”
The happy part Greenwood states is with the new guidance, if masks are worn properly and a student becomes ill with COVID, the other students are not considered close contact. This is new guidance from the CDC. Please note, guidance like last year changes continuously.
“Just having the kids wearing their masks consistently and properly we’ll be able to keep everyone in school.” Board member Janice Forgeson added, “That is kinda our job.”
“We as the district will obviously be watching the mandates and if they change we will let everyone know what the changes are and we will continue to follow that guidance and provide updates as it happened and that can happen pretty quickly as you guys know from last year. We have been through this, this is nothing new. We had a successful year last year doing this, and I have no reason to think we are not gonna have a successful year this year….so our communication will be key with all parents, guardians, and all that.”
Summary of District’s Reopening Plan, Full Plan on District Website
School is back in full person and in full session! Bement plans to go Monday through Friday 8:15am-3:15pm. All lunch and breakfast for all students is of no cost. There is no remote option, unless If a student has a medical condition and a doctor’s note. From plan, “If a student has a medical condition and a doctor’s note indicating that they cannot attend school, they will be enrolled in a homebound/on-line learning program. Students may return to the in-school plan at the semester with a new doctor’s note regarding their medical condition.”
As far as visitors are concerned, “Students should not come onto school grounds until 8:00 and we are requesting that parents and guardians not come onto school grounds during the school day unless absolutely necessary. Thank you for doing an amazing job with this last year.
Visitors will not be allowed to circulate throughout the school buildings at this time.”
From the plan on the website, it states the new guidance for COVID-19 prevention requirements from the State of Illinois. Masks must be worn at all times, contract tracing will continue, if needed isolation and quarantine will occur, basically the same guidance from last year with the exception that students are in school full day and no remote option.
And as always, remember guidance can change.
August 16/17: Teacher Institute Day
August 18: First Full Day
September 1: Prek-12 Open House 6-7:30pm
September 3: Early noon dismissal
September 6: No School
September 15: 1st Quarter Midterms
September 15: Next Board Meeting