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How Illinois is handling masking in schools

Students in Illinois are returning to full-time, in-person learning in the fall.
Credit: JackF - stock.adobe.com
Children wearing COVID masks in school

Students in Illinois are returning to full-time, in-person learning in the fall. With that comes a mixed bag of requirements for masking. 

Here's what the Illinois Department of Public Health's guidance is for K-12 schools:

  • Fully-vaccinated staff members and students do not have to wear a mask
  • Unvaccinated staff members and students need to wear a mask indoors
  • Three feet of distance between students needs to be maintained in the classroom
  • Additional mitigation strategies should be implemented
    • Screening testing
    • Ventilation
    • Handwashing
    • Coughing etiquette 
    • Contact tracing
    • Staying home when not feeling well
    • Cleaning / sanitizing

Vaccines continue to not be available to kids under age 12, so that entire student population will have to wear masks.

The 2021-2022 school year will be fully in-person. However, remote instruction has to be made available for students if they are under a quarantine order.

“With vaccination rates continually rising and unprecedented federal funding to support safe in-person learning, and mitigations such as contact tracing and increased ventilation in place in schools, we are fully confident in the safety of in-person learning this fall," said State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Carmen I. Ayala.

The CDC is not advising schools to require shots for teachers and vaccine-eligible kids. And it's not offering guidance on how teachers can know which students are vaccinated or how parents will know which teachers are immunized.

Keep up on guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health