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220 Phone

A growing number people no longer need to wear a mask when venturing out in Illinois.

But as students return to school this fall, many may still be required to wear masks. Parents are rallying to change that, protesting and creating Facebook groups to get rid of the mask mandate.

The Illinois State Board of Education still is working on guidance for the next school year and is working to address the concerns of educators and parents as quickly as they can, Illinois Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala said during a meeting Wednesday.

Currently, Illinois is following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended in May that “schools continue to use the current COVID-19 prevention strategies,” which includes masks for the unvaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines are available only to those 12 and older under emergency-use authorization from the federal Food and Drug Administration. The vaccines continue to undergo large scale trials before receiving full approval from the FDA.

“The state of Illinois has put undo harm and pressure on our children,” Marsha McClary, a parent in Barrington Unit District 220, told the ISBE during its meeting Wednesday.

McClary and other parents told the board students should not be forced to wear masks in school this fall as COVID-19 rates plummet as more Illinoisans become fully vaccinated.

McClary said she is a member of an Illinois parents union, with more than 7,000 members on Facebook, that talks about how the state has pressured students during the past school year.

Read more here.

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220

Barrington School District 220 board members, most not wearing masks as they met in person June 15, heard calls from four parents and a student to drop requirement for students to wear masks when school resumes for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Monika Casey was the first of nine speakers during the public comment portion of the meeting. The speakers, including four parents and one student, called on board members to lift what most called the “mask mandate,” which is the requirement that has been in place for all students, vaccinated or not, to wear masks in school, including during the present summer school term.

The use of face coverings – or masks – became a public health requirement as part of addressing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“It’s a critical topic among several with respect to the negative and permanent impacts on our children,” according to Casey, who said she has been district parent for 15 years. “I urge lifting the mask mandate…at today’s meeting.”

Board members didn’t take any action on the mask question at this week’s meeting but did agree to take it up at the July 13 one, although there was no clear agreement on whether the issue would be on the agenda then for discussion or as an action item.

Board members are hopeful that by then the district will have received updated guidance on mask usage from the Illinois State Board of Education. Outgoing Superintendent Brian Harris has said that, as school chief, he is bound to follow ISBE guidance on the matter, as well as guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Lake County Health Department – unless a majority of school board members direct him otherwise.

Read more here.

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220 Green

The Barrington District 220 Board of Education will be holding two meetings today.  Both notices were posted to the district website sometime after noon yesterday (those familiar with the Illinois Open Meetings Act take note).

A special meeting of the Board will be held starting at noon at the District Administrative Center, 515 W. Main St.  beginning with closed session.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

The Board then meets again at 7 PM at the same location for their second regular monthly meeting. A copy of that agenda can be viewed here. This meeting will be live-streamed on YouTube.

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Masks JBP

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced June 10 that Illinois will move to a full reopening on June 11, but mask mandates and social distancing will remain a mainstay in Illinois schools.

Pritzker said it is critical that schools and day cares use and layer prevention strategies. The two most important ones are universal and correct use of masks, and physical distancing, which he said should be maximized to the greatest extent possible.

Pritzker has enforced COVID-19 mandates by issuing 18 disaster proclamations, a practice that is now under fire from some state lawmakers.

“We are operating and moving down a dangerous path if we allow governors either today or in the future to declare emergency declarations as long as they want without input from the General Assembly,” state Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-St. Charles, said.

Ugaste has House Bill 843 that would amend the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act to require the governor to get legislative approval of consecutive disaster proclamations.

State lawmakers are also examining other COVID-19 fallout, including failings by the Illinois Department of Employment Security and their offices remaining closed, millions spent on hospital leases that were rarely or never used, and the severe backlog of Firearm Owners’ Identifications that doubled in the past 18 months.

Read more here.

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Face Nasks Required

As school districts kick can down the road, politicization widens and deepens

“Summer school begins this week in districts all over the state. Those in charge of the largest in Chicagoland, Barrington SD220, said at a June board meeting they were keeping the status quo.

Brian Harris, the retiring superintendent of SD220, said at the board meeting it was “premature” to make any decisions on masking for the 2020-21 school year and that the job of a superintendent is to follow the guidelines set by public health agencies.

That’s certainly been true for Chicagoland superintendents, especially outgoing ones like Harris. Throughout Covid, not one super at a high school north of I-80 has said anything publicly in defiance of public health guidelines. So Harris is staying true to The Code, parachuting out with his $200k pension and likely to set up a retirement residence outside of the state paid for by Illinois taxpayers.

(Not to pick on Harris. I don’t know the man and I’m sure he’s done a good job in his district, removing Covid from the equation. But would it have been that hard for him to say something like, “I know what current public health protocols are. But with where we are now, with what the data tells us, I believe we need to re-examine those protocols and do what is best of the children of District 220 and the state of Illinois.” One definition of leadership is speaking out in the face of injustices. Opportunity missed by Harris.)”

Read the full article from The Kerr Report here.

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BHS Sign

Will students be required to wear face masks when they return to classes this fall at Barrington High School and other Barrington District 220 schools? School board members are discussing the options.

Barrington Community Unit School District 220 board members are working to define the district’s position on face mask requirements for students, ahead of the 2021-22 school year.

Superintendent Brian Harris said last week he expects the Illinois State Board of Education to come out with new guidelines for the next school year.

“The state superintendent did reaffirm that the current mitigation requirements that we had at the end of the school year carry into summer school,” he said. “They have not changed anything at this point.”

Until there are updates to the guidelines, Harris said he will continue to follow those issued by state and local authorities, unless “directed differently by the board.”

Board member Erin Chan Ding said ISBE officials said in a recent webinar that mitigation requirements are not just guidelines, and districts should consider them requirements enforceable by law. The state could withhold funding for a district not in compliance, she said.

“That’s exactly how our attorneys have interpreted that for the past 15 months,” Harris added.

But board member Steve Wang said he has heard from district parents opposed to a mask requirement.

“There are plenty of school districts out there who have already said they are not going to follow this mandate,” Wang said. “Is that something that we’re willing to entertain?”

Read more here.

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PC Groundbreaking

Staff and Board of Education members at the Prairie Middle School groundbreaking ceremony.

“Barrington 220 hosted three groundbreaking ceremonies on Thursday, May 27, 2021 to kick off the first of many construction projects made possible by a $147 million referendum, which was approved by the community on March 17, 2020.

After 15 years, the mobile classrooms at Prairie Middle School and Station Middle School will be removed this month, in order to begin construction of a classroom addition on each campus. The mobile classrooms were purchased in 2006 as a temporary solution to increasing enrollment. In addition, construction will begin this summer at Grove Avenue Elementary on a new front entrance vestibule, which will provide a more secure entrance to the building. Construction of a new classroom addition at Grove will also get underway in August, in order to replace the current mobile classrooms on that campus. The mobiles were purchased in 2018 as a temporary solution to increasing enrollment.

As much work as possible is being done over the summer in order to minimize disruptions during the school year. Construction at both middle schools is expected to last through November 2022. Construction at Grove Avenue Elementary is expected to last through December 2022. Project work across all D220 schools is expected to last through 2025.”

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BHS 2021

In an effort to social distance as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Barrington High School held four graduation ceremonies May 29, 2021 for the more than 700 Class of 2021 graduates. Students are pictured as they tossed their caps at the 10 a.m. commencement held on the school’s athletic field in Barrington. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)

After not being able to have a live graduation ceremony for last year’s graduating class – due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, this year Barrington High School held four in-person commencements on the school’s athletic field for the more than 700 Class of 2021 graduates.

“They were resilient, they were ready for any change – and we changed many times throughout the course of the year,” retiring Superintendent Brian Harris said about this year’s class of graduates. “They’ve just been remarkable and we’re very proud of them and happy to celebrate their graduation.”

School officials said the graduating class included 703 seniors. The ceremonies were held Saturday May 29 at the BHS football stadium.

The outdoor commencements were held at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to help ensure the public health safety for participants and attendees as the pandemic continues, officials said.

Harris told Pioneer Press at the first ceremony of the day that the graduating seniors are “set for a college or career of their choice and we’re very proud of that.”

Saturday marked the last graduation Harris will preside over (thankfully) at Barrington High School as superintendent due to his upcoming retirement.

Read more here.

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220 Admin

The District 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7 PM at the District Administrative Center. A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

The livestream of the meeting is viewable via the Board’s YouTube channel.

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BHS 2021

Graduates await their turn to be called to the stage during the presentation of diplomas at the 10 a.m. graduation ceremony at Barrington High School Saturday.

South Elgin, Elgin, Larkin, Bartlett and Streamwood High Schools held their class graduation ceremonies yesterday an the Now Arena in Hoffman Estates. Wheaton North, Wheaton Warrenville South and Carmel Catholic High Schools held their ceremonies outdoors as a class on school grounds.

Barrington High School seniors had their ceremonies segregated into four (4) shifts at Barrington Community Stadium. The four separate ceremonies were recorded and will be made available for viewing here.

To see images from all events, click here.

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