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Confirmed: Oswego School District’s masks optional policy took effect immediately

The Oswego School District 308 Board of Education voted 6-0 during a raucous July 12 meeting to allow masks and face coverings to be optional in schools for students and staff but remain required for riders on district school buses.

Board member Jennifer Johnson abstained from voting.

Guidelines for masks posted to the district website since the meeting clarify that the new guidelines went into effect “beginning immediately” amid the district’s continuing summer school programs.

The guidelines read: “The district’s (COVID-19) prevention strategies will continue to include social distancing to the extent possible, increased ventilation, daily cleaning and sanitization, reporting and tracing cases of COVID-19 amongst students and staff, and exclusion of persons symptomatic from all district buildings.

“District administration will closely monitor possible exposure and transmission of COVID-19 in our schools, responding with additional measures if needed. Metrics and mitigation measures will be published on the district website and shared with parents and staff.”

A closer look at the policy shows that the district does not have a “masking mandate or policy enforcing the decision for a student or staff member to wear or not wear a mask while in person at school or work.” Masks are required only to be worn on school buses by both students and staff.

The district also does not have a policy requiring students and staff to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status.

The guidelines also state that OSD 308 “will not tolerate the bullying of individuals for wearing or not wearing a mask.”

“This directive is subject to change based upon changes in applicable factors including an increase in COVID-19 rates or revised public health guidance,” district guidelines read.

While the district does not require masks to be worn in buildings, the Oswegoland Park District’s Kid’s Connection and Junior Kid’s Connection camp programs do still require face coverings and social distancing “in school and DCFS licensed centers.”

Kid’s Connection Coordinator Joy Curbis confirmed the requirement in a phone call July 15, adding that the park district will re-examine its policy for the Kid’s Connection before-and-after school programs in the fall.

Director of Marketing & Customer Service Laura Finch additionally confirmed that while the park district’s mask policy is not on the agenda for the July 15 Board of Commissioners meeting, discussions have been had at the park district regarding guidance.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated from the COVID-19 pandemic are no longer required to wear a mask or face covering while inside Oswegoland Park District facilities or participating in indoor or outdoor park district programs.

“Individuals who are over the age of two, but not fully vaccinated, and able to medically tolerate a face covering are required to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering when in a public place and unable to maintain a six-foot social distance.”

Additional guidances and mitigation efforts will be published by the park district and school district as they become available.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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