Morris High School board discusses masks

Will follow CDC and IDPH guidelines

MORRIS – The Morris Community High School District 101 Board met last Monday and discussed the mask policy that the school will use for the 2021-22 school year.

Board President Scot Hastings said the board will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“The CDC right now recommends masks on the buses,” he said. “They have also said that those that are vaccinated do not need a mask, but they say that those that are not vaccinated should wear a mask.”

Hastings said that a few parents showed up to the meeting and gave their views.

“Basically, the parents that spoke wanted the decision to be left to the parents,” he said.

Hastings said Superintendent Craig Ortiz had joined with a group of other superintendents in the state to send a letter to Gov. JB Pritzker stating that, without specific guidance from the state, some of these decisions would be made at the local level.

“There has been a disconnect between the guidance issued by these agencies and the use of words such as ‘may’ vs. ‘must’ or ‘recommended’ vs. ‘required,’ ” Ortiz said. “In general, the guidance says that those who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks at school, while those who are not vaccinated are encouraged to wear masks.

“We are planning to make this recommendation, but not to enforce mask-wearing because it is not practical, and I believe that is how many schools in our area will handle this. We are still awaiting some clarification from the Grundy County Health Department regarding quarantines, but all indications are we will still be dealing with close contact quarantines for those who are not fully vaccinated.”

The board also approved the purchase of new flooring and equipment in the school’s weight room.

“Some of the weights and machines are getting pretty old,” Hastings said. “This isn’t something that just the kids that are involved in sports use. There are several [physical education] classes that use the weight room as well.”

The board also approved the budget hearing date, as well as an authorization to fill new positions.

“The authorization is pretty standard,” Hastings said. “We don’t have any open positions right now, but if someone were to resign between now and the start of school, it just means that Dr. Ortiz could hire someone to start right away and we would approve it at the next meeting rather than taking the time to approve it before that person could start.”

Rob Oesterle

Rob Oesterle

Rob has been a sports writer for the Morris Herald-News and Joliet Herald-News for more than 20 years. He is currently also writing news for the Morris Herald-News.