As school districts face a lack of guidance on COVID-19 protocols from the Illinois State Board of Education, the superintendent for Yorkville Community United School District 115 said he supports individual choice for things like vaccines “as long as the medical and health guidelines support that.”
Superintendent Tim Shimp said he doesn’t foresee ISBE requiring vaccines for eligible students like state universities have done, adding that the shots have only emergency approval by the FDA.
“If its medically sound and the health parameters say its OK to give choice that would be my preference,” Shimp said in an interview Friday, June 25.
But items like mask mandates and vaccines are one piece of COVID-19 guidance school officials are seeking from the state. Shimp recently joined nearly 50 other school district superintendents in a letter urging ISBE to clarify quarantine and social distancing policy for the 2021-2022 school year.
With in-person classes fully returning, students exposed to the virus will have less access to last year’s remote learning options, the letter stated. Additionally, a 3-feet social distance requirement in schools “is possible in most cases, but only with significant modifications.”
At Yorkville, adapting to pandemic guidelines has an impact on staff, resources and logistics, Shimp remarked, from daily health screenings to limiting class sizes.
“I also don’t want to waste money on things that we don’t need, whether it’s extra furniture, extra teachers that we may not need if extra guidance was given to us” he said.
Shimp added that guidelines for schools hasn’t kept pace with the end of other COVID-19 restrictions like capacity limits and mask mandates.
“We’re just trying to bring consistency to what the government is doing with Phase 5,” he said.
Some Yorkville parents have recently started an online petition to eliminate mask mandates and oppose vaccine requirements for students, which has already gained over 300 signatures. Supporters plan to bring the petition to a school board meeting this coming Monday, June 28.
“I think their approach is for the right reasons,” Shimp said of organizers. “I think they want what we want… They want some direction.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle