News - Sauk Valley

Sterling Public Schools to review COVID-19 return to school plan

Sterling Public Schools board of education President Pam Capes reviews the agenda items near the end of the district's regular meeting on Wednesday at the high school library.

STERLING — The Sterling Public Schools superintendent will present a COVID-19 return-to-school plan that requires in-person instruction in accord with a directive from the state superintendent of schools.

According to the plan that Superintendent Tad Everett will present to the board of education during its regular meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sterling High School Library, there are only two exceptions to the in-person learning requirement for 2022-23:

One is if the governor declares a public health disaster and the state superintendent of schools subsequently issues a remote learning requirement; or, two, if an individual student applies for a temporary waiver for medical reasons requiring hospitalization or other surgical procedure.

The plan includes start and dismissal times for each of the district’s six campuses.

It also will abide by COVID-19 guidance as issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and adopted by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

These mitigations include the promotion of, but not requirement, of vaccination; the recommendation but not requirement that masks are worn when the community is at a high level of transmission; and promotion of social distancing when conditions merit.

According to the CDC, Whiteside County currently has a high level for transmission and recommends mask wearing indoors, updated vaccinations and boosters, testing if anyone shows symptoms and other precautions.

The draft version of the plan being presented is still awaiting clarification from the Whiteside County Health Department on a procedural guidance for contact tracing when there are instances of a positive test for persons living at home with a student or teacher.

In another matter, the board will be presented with a preliminary budget for the 2022-23 school year that will be put on public display at the district office before a public hearing on it can be held 7 p.m. Sept. 28.

According to Timothy Schwingle, director of finance, this will be the ninth consecutive year that the education fund portion of the budget is balanced. The financial report showed that local property tax revenue increased because of an increase in the equalized assessed value. Revenue from Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax are projected to be strong after a record year in 2022.

Troy Taylor

Troy E. Taylor

Was named editor for and the Gazette and Telegraph in 2021. An Illinois native, he has been a reporter or editor in daily newspapers since 1989.