The Illinois State Board of Education updated its mask guidance Monday morning for the upcoming school year.
For the question of who should wear a mask, the ISBE has one word: everyone.
“[The] IDPH and ISBE endorse the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s] recommendation that all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools wear a mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status,” according to the updated guidance.
While not a mandate, it is an increase in strength in the ISBE’s mask recommendations. This comes after an update last week from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which issued an updated FAQ that included a statement to any districts that choose to not follow CDC mask guidance to check with their insurers regarding risk assumption and liability coverage.
Illinois has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past month, and a majority of the state is now experiencing high or substantial transmission, according to the CDC’s county-level tracker, prompting counties across the state to advise residents to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.
The ISBE’s Monday guidance update also includes the recommendation that schools that continue to require people 2 and older to wear a mask should make exceptions for the following categories of people:
• A person who cannot wear a mask or cannot safely wear a mask because of a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Discuss the possibility of reasonable accommodation with workers who are not fully vaccinated, who are unable to wear a mask or who have difficulty wearing certain types of masks because of a disability.
• A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations.