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RCBH

The Riding Club of Barrington Hills has released their August, 2021 newsletter.  A section includes definitions of three major types of riding trails in the Village and Cook County as:

  • Trails on private property
  • Village deeded equestrian trails, and
  • Forest Preserve trails

A copy of their newsletter can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Mask Shot

Despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending schools start the year with everyone wearing masks indoors, many suburban school districts have yet to change course on decisions that make protective face coverings optional.

School boards in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, Kaneland Unit District 302, St. Charles Unit District 303, Geneva Unit District 304, Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 and Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200, among others, voted to make masks optional. That was in spite of earlier CDC advice that unvaccinated students and staff members be required to wear masks indoors.

None have reversed those decisions in the face of the CDC’s stricter guidelines announced Tuesday. In some cases, the districts have told parents they are aware of the CDC’s recommendations.

The Barrington Unit District 220 board indicated students in prekindergarten through fifth grade “will begin the school year wearing masks indoors.” That board is slated to meet again Aug. 10.

Some school boards voted to make masks optional even after the CDC updated its recommendations last week to advise universal masking in schools. The Lake Zurich Unit District 95 and Northwest Suburban High School District 214 boards both voted in favor of optional masks Thursday.

Read more here.

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155Crystal Lake-based Community High School District 155 will make masks optional for the upcoming school year, the school board and district officials confirmed at a meeting Wednesday night.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended all teachers, staff, students and visitors in schools wear face masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status. This recommendation was quickly adopted by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Earlier in July, the CDC had said masks should be worn by those who are not vaccinated.

District 155 Superintendent Steve Olson noted that guidance on reopening schools from state and federal officials continues to shift and change quickly.

But right now, “based on current health data,” the district has decided to start the 2021-22 school year with a mask-optional approach for staff and students, except on school buses where they’re required, Olson said.

Families in the audience were visibly relieved that masks will not be required in school this year, though Olson cautioned that these decisions are subject to change based upon community spread, changing public health conditions and updates from the CDC, McHenry County Department of Health and Illinois State Board of Education.

At this point, the CDC, ISBE and local and state health departments have not mandated that schools require masks.

Read more here.

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95

Lake Zurich High School graduates wore masks to their commencement ceremony on May 22. The Lake Zurich Area Unit 95 board adopted mask rules at its meeting Thursday night. If the number of new COVID-19 cases rises above 50 people per 100,000, then all students will be required to wear masks indoors. (John Starks | Staff Photographer)

Provided the number of people infected with COVID-19 remains at a low to moderate level, students at Lake Zurich Area Unit 95 schools will have some choice when it comes to wearing masks indoors under rules adopted by the school board Thursday at their meeting.

But if cases rise locally, the district would require every student to mask up regardless of vaccination status.

The plan calls for all students to receive in-classroom education but allows for families to apply for remote learning.

District mitigation efforts will vary in intensity based on the number of cases in the 60047 ZIP code. If the number of new COVID-19 cases is above 50 people per 100,000, then all students will be required to wear masks indoors.

There are currently 26.7 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000, which the plan identifies as a moderate level. Under moderate levels, masks are not required for fully vaccinated students. Grade 7 and older students who aren’t vaccinated will be encouraged to wear masks, but younger students will be required to.

Regardless of the number of COVID-19 cases in the community, all students will be required to wear masks when on school buses and during large gatherings like assemblies where social distancing would not be possible.

Read more here.

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The Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their monthly meeting Monday evening at 6:30 PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • [Vote] Ordinance Amending Title 8, Deleting in its Entirety, Chapter 5,
    Equestrian Trail License Ordinance 21 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Approving a Text Amendment to Add Canine Day Care
    and/or Doggy Day Care with Grooming, Training and Boarding, Day Care/Child
    Care/After School Care and Church/House of Worship to the List of Special
    Uses in the B3 General Business District Ordinance 21 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Amending Title 4, Building Regulations of its Code of
    Ordinances to Update Code References Ordinance 21 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing and Approving the Execution of an “Amazon
    Locker Location Agreement” Allowing Placement of an Amazon Delivery
    Kiosk/Locker in Village Hall Resolution 21 –
  • [Vote] Equestrian Commission Appointment: Tricia Wood – Term through April
    2022
  • 9th Annual The Hills Are Alive Fall Festival – Sunday, September 19th – Noon
    to 4 PM

A copy of the disappointing agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

Why disappointing you may ask?  Because for the third month in a row this administration has failed to step up publicly to address a clear conflict of interest existing at our Village Hall. Matter of fact, there isn’t even a place on the agenda to report what was discussed at the specifically nonspecific Personal Committee meeting held Monday.

Residents deserve better.

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BHS Sign

After a five-hour meeting Wednesday night that included dozens of comments from members of the public, the Barrington Area Unit District 220 board did not reach a consensus on a mask policy for the upcoming school year.

A crowded and five-hour Barrington Area Unit District 220 board meeting ended late Wednesday night with members unable to settle on a final policy for masks when students return to class next month.

Because the session was a special meeting, the board members could not vote on a policy had they agreed. That vote could come when the board meets again Aug. 10 — 10 days before the first day of school.

“Well, I’m disappointed,” board member Angela Wilcox said. “I was really hoping that we could come to some sort of situation to move forward. I think that we’ve seen is wishy-washy, and I know you’re saying that you’re looking for more information, but it doesn’t feel like being leaders. It seems like kicking the can.”

The board agreed earlier this month to make face masks optional in grades 6-12 and develop a plan to phase out an indoor mask requirement for students and staff in prekindergarten through fifth grade.

Superintendent Robert Hunt presented a proposal Wednesday that would make masks recommended, but not required, for the older students and implement phased approach for earlier grades. That approach would see students wearing masks when a social distance of three feet cannot be maintained.The district would then monitor local COVID-19 case data and make decisions based an that information.

Other proposed mitigation strategies include designated entrances, the use of hand sanitizer, three-foot social distancing and limited visitors in buildings. High-touch surfaces will be cleaned daily, and physical education will take place outdoors as much as possible.

Read the Daily Herald story here.

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220 Mask WarBARRINGTON, Ill. (CBS) — It is a debate happening at almost every school district in the state and around the country – what to do when it comes to masking this fall.

On Wednesday night, there was no shortage of fireworks in Barrington when the issue came up. The meeting had been going on for more than four hours as of 10 p.m., and more than 60 people had signed up.

Constant interruptions and outbursts forced Barrington 220 School District board to take a recess just minutes into the meeting Wednesday night, which focused on the divisive issue of masks for COVID-19.

Some of the biggest reaction from the crowd came in response to smallest in attendance. Children chanted, “We don’t want to wear these masks,” and had the words, “Please don’t make me wear a mask,” printed on their T-shirts.

“You are simply making decisions based on your own fears,” one girl told the board.

The district is recommending masks for unvaccinated students in grades 6 through 12 grade – but they aren’t required. Kids younger than 12 who aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine will continue wearing masks.

View the CBS Chicago report here.

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BHS

The 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 6:30 PM at Barrington High School located at 616 W Main St.  A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

Please note the agenda states the following:

“Public Comment can be made in one of two ways:

  • By 12:00 pm (noon) on July 21st leave a voicemail message at 847-842-3576. This will be played during the public comment portion of the January 21st board meeting.
  • By making a public comment in person at the meeting.

This meeting will also be transmitted virtually at bit.ly/220schoolboardlive. Please click on the July 21st meeting, which will appear on the site when the meeting actually begins.”

As “public comment averse” as some on the board are, it should not be assumed comments communicated by email or print will be accepted by this board.

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The District 220 Board met last week, and we are here to report that the wheels are coming off the Ficke-Bradford, Collister-Lazzari, Altshuler and Chan Ding, Covid “Fear Mongering Foursome” cart.

If you didn’t attend or watch the meeting(video can be viewed here), it was primarily centered on discussions on Covid Protocols for the upcoming school year. Discussions that D220 parents have anxiously been awaiting so they can decide whether they will leave their kids in the tax funded District or pull them in favor of private, charter or home schooling.

Following are our takeaways from the meeting. We are focusing on the discussions surrounding the masking of your K-5 students, as a majority of the Board gave direction to the Superintendent to come up with a Mask Optional approach for the 6-12 students.

Most disturbing was Chan Dings’ reasoning behind denying parents of grade school students the right to choose whether their children should wear a mask, citing her own fears for her unvaccinated grade school child and wanting her to have an approved vaccine prior to sending her to school without a mask:

“Those parents with kids like me, who are 11 and under, I have one who is in the process of getting vaccinated, I have one who cannot yet get vaccinated, I would like to eventually vaccinate her, but until she is vaccinated, I’m not comfortable with her not wearing a mask while she’s indoors…”

Wang clarified Chan Ding’s comments, stating your daughter can still wear a mask. Chan Ding responded:

“She can still wear a mask but she’s extra vulnerable if unvaccinated kids are around her…”

Putting aside the fact that Chan Ding promised throughout her campaign that she would be an independent voice (…and we all know how long that lasted the minute she showed obvious collusion with Ficke-Bradford, Altshuler, and Collister-Lazzari within seconds of being sworn into office to destroy the decades old tradition and sided with the 3 of them to vote Wilcox out of any officer position on the board despite her 6 years of dedicated and impeccable service to Collister-Lazzari & Altshuler’s 2 years), last we checked, one is sworn to put aside personal motivations when acting on behalf of a community while serving on a school board. Ignoring the voices of in excess of 500 for ones self-serving interests is reason alone to call for a recall of Chan Ding.

We will have to keep a very close eye on Chan Ding moving forward as it appears she is in deep doo-doo with her campaign supporters. Some communications between Chan Ding and a person named Kyla were shared by Kyla on social media and it is apparent that Chan Ding is in major back pedal mode as a result of her position at the last meeting, assuring Kyla that:

“It has been a huge help to receive emails from people with your perspective, as we were getting crushed by emails from anti-maskers… we still need to know there’s a segment of the community that’s behind us doing responsible things… The anti-maskers are incredibly well-organized… This Wednesday, there will be the opportunity to call in a voicemail or show up in person to show the Board and the media who cover the meeting that the other side is just as passionate (and I hope, more respectful).”

It’s obvious now that Chan Ding is not the independent voice she promised to be. She believes there are sides, and she has taken one. She believes that those who asked her for mask choice are “anti-maskers”. She believes that those who came before her last week to advocate on behalf of their children are disrespectful. And she has also advised Kyla that “volume matters” and to encourage people to email and show up to address the Board on a mask mandate.

Graphic 1

Graphic 2

Perhaps most disturbing was the very palpable orchestration by Ficke-Bradford to manipulate the votes of Altshuler, Chan Ding, and Collister-Lazzari, when they failed to be able to closely adhere to what was obviously discussed by the four of them prior to meeting.

The pre-meeting discussions were as much admitted to by Chan Ding and reinforced by her jumping in at the very beginning of the discussion to seek a “compromise”. For those not familiar with the Open Meetings Act (OMA), discussions by board members are to be held in front of the public that they represent. Any discussion outside of the public by more than 3 members is a violation of the OMA. While there are ways around this, we doubt that these members are savvy enough to adhere to them.

So, how else could Chan Ding be seeking a compromise at the beginning of the meeting unless she’d already determined that there were members who weren’t in agreement with her? It seems the “Fear Mongering Foursome” was thrown off when the Board was provided four different options to pursue:

  1. Universal Masking
  2. Non-Vaccinated Masking
  3. Phased Masking, and
  4. Mask Optional

Ficke-Bradford reinforced the coercion of the Fear Mongering Foursome, re-directing the opinions of Altshuler and Collister-Lazzari who clearly desired Non-Vaccinated Masking, repeatedly saying each time after they voiced their opinion: “…it sounds to me like you are leaning towards phased masking…” which Chan Ding was in favor of for K-5 students.

“I’m for non-vaccinated masking for 6 to 12 and for masking for elementary, and then for phased masking for all of them…” Collister-Lazzari repeatedly stated, with Ficke-Bradford re-directing, because they had already lost the 6 to 12 discussions when Chan Ding agreed to Mask Optional for those grades with Karam, Wang and Wilcox. While the crowd did become boisterous on occasion, Collister-Lazzari showed herself to be completely incapable of living in reality:

“I don’t think it’s fair to blame the school board for closing school last year… for having kids be at home… I think there was a pandemic and school was closed all over the world…”

So, the inability to open D220 schools is our fault due to Covid and not the school board that she was a member of and that voted to keep schools closed? Yet the new Superintendent came from a school district that remained open during the spring semester, so it can’t be Covid, can it?

According to Collister-Lazzari, we should be rejoicing those kids are going back to school. But she fails to mention that the decision to do so came amidst a mandate from the Illinois State Board of Education that schools return to in-person learning this fall. I think we all know where Collister-Lazzari’s vote would have been on the issue absent the mandate.

Altshuler “shared his heart…” admitting there were hundreds of emails and he was not capable of responding to all of them, in favor of Mask Optional. We know that any insinuation that there was a vocal pro-mask population out there before the meeting was false when Karam responded to Collister-Lazzari’s claim that people in favor of masking may have stayed home to attend the meeting online (as Collister-Lazzari commanded all critics of her and her band of maskers should) sharing that the BOE members had received only seven (7) communications advocating for masks compared to the countless ones requesting the BOE to make masks optional.

Altshuler, further sharing his heart, stated

“… if we say no masking, or mask optional, then I feel like we are prejudiced against the people who want to mask…”

What?! Offering a choice is a sign of prejudice? When questioned by the crowd that it was clearly not prejudicial since people would have the option, pointing out that Altshuler himself was wearing a mask at his own discretion, he responded:

“I have a mask on because I’m not feeling well and I don’t want to get everyone else sick. I’m trying to be a good citizen…”

Yet we know this ‘good citizen’ was not wearing a mask before the public meeting, having seen him walking around inside the building prior to the meeting without one. Rumor has it he didn’t have one on in closed session either.

Perhaps Altshuler was suddenly overcome with sickness when he saw that hundreds of parents and children of D220 had shown up to speak their voice on allowing mask choice to the students of D220? Whatever the cause, we know from Alshuler’s public comments during meetings and on his social media pages that he admonished people to “Stay home if unwell” and “Stay home when we are not feeling well,” so the ‘good citizen’ doc should have followed his own advice and removed himself from the meeting as soon as he was not feeling well. (See Facebook posts of Barry Altshuler – 220 School Board on January 9 and March 5, 2021).

After all, what was the point of his presence when there was no formal vote on the agenda and everyone on the Board seemed to already know that he is in favor of keeping the District, possibly the world, in masks? At one point in discussing a future meeting on the subject, the new Superintendent leaned over to Altshuler and said to him:

“Well let’s be honest, your vote is not going to change… your vote is not going to change to vote unmasked…” and our resident pediatrician responded, “I cannot get to unmasking…”

So, finally some honesty from the ‘good citizen’.

It appears that Ficke-Bradford has lost more than just control of the room (has anyone ever banged a gavel more), she has also lost control of the Fear Mongering Foursome, despite her constant attempts to re-phrase their opinions and to direct their ‘votes’ … “it sounds to me like you are leaning towards…”

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PC 7.19

The Village Personnel Committee meets this afternoon at 5:00 PM.  Topics on their agenda include:

  • Transition of Treasurer
  • Additional Staffing, and
  • As Presented

“Transition of Treasurer,” likely means the current Village Treasurer, Peggy Hirsch, will be leaving, and that would be a tremendous loss if that’s the case.

“As Presented,” is an item we’ve only seen recently used on the Equestrian Commission agendas.  As near as we can tell, it means, “undecided as of agenda posting deadline,” “none of your damn business” or it’s, “anything can happen Monday.”

A copy of the agenda can be found here.

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