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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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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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220At their recent meeting, members of the Barrington School District 220 School board agreed with an administration recommendation to offer only a limited remote/virtual learning program next school year, a decision officials believe is in line with guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education.

The move by the board comes as officials say additional SD220 surveys show dwindling interest in what has been called a virtual/blended academy. In early May, 370 families had indicated a willingness to commit to have their children in an all-virtual program for the whole 2021-2022 school year. By the time of the May 18 school board meeting, that number had dropped to 301, officials said. Another survey seeking to understand family reasons for wanting the all-remote option drew only 200 responses and of those only 117 said their choices were based on COVID-19 concerns.

The Illinois State Board of Education adopted a resolution May 19 that calls for schools to resume in-person instruction full-time starting next school year, and states remote learning would be made available for students in certain circumstances, including not being eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Currently, the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer pharmaceutical company is the only one authorized for children, and only if they are at least 12 years old.

“A lot has changed since May 4,” said Matt Fuller, assistant superintendent of technology and innovation, referring both to state board guidance and declining family interest in the virtual option.

District officials expect to meet soon with families interested in the virtual option to outline course offerings and procedures, school leaders said. It is expected that the remote option will be available for families who choose it because of concerns over health issues for students under age 12 who are not eligible right not to be vaccinated, as well as for families with relatives at elevated risk for contracting the virus.

Costs for the scaled-back virtual program are estimated to be nearly $1 million, but board members were told that SD220 expects to receive about $8.4 million in federal pandemic relief funds over the next two school years. The district has spent about $1.3 million in pandemic relief funds so far, officials explained.

Read more here.

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ISBE

With vaccines widely available for children 12 years and older, state education officials signaled their support today for a return to a full in-person school year this fall.

The Illinois State Board of Education approved a resolution Wednesday that “all schools must resume fully in-person learning for all student attendance days.”

Schools also would be required to make remote instruction available for students not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and who are under a quarantine order by local or state health authorities.

School districts will have the flexibility to continue to provide remote learning to individual students, “if that best meets their learning needs,” State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala said. “We are still awaiting more guidance from public health. This is an evolving thing.”

Trials are under way to determine if younger children can get the COVID- 19 vaccine. Without that, resuming in-person learning this fall for all younger students could be problematic, some ISBE board members and parents said.

Barring changes in public health conditions, Illinois is expected to enter Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan on June 11, allowing businesses to resume normal operations and public gatherings of all sizes.

Read more here.

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BMS

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting is Tuesday, May 18 at 7 PM. The meeting will be held in person at Station Middle School. Their agenda can be viewed here.

This evening’s meeting includes a public hearing at 8 PM to discuss the 2020-2021 tentative amended budget.

The number of people in the room will be limited to 60% capacity, as the state of Illinois is now in “Bridge to Phase 5” under the state’s Restore Illinois Plan.

The livestream of all meetings are viewable via the Board’s YouTube channel.

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