Late-Breaking COVID Protocol Change

Reposting today’s official communication from OPRF admin, re: late-breaking COVID protocol change:

Dear OPRFHS Students, Staff, and Families,

On Friday evening, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that he was withdrawing the Executive Order that has required students and staff in Illinois schools to wear masks. The withdrawal is effective this Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. The governor’s decision is based on new rules that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued Friday, easing mask wearing.

The CDC revised its rules to align with updated guidance that no longer recommends universal mask wearing inside K-12 schools or early education settings in areas with a low or medium COVID-19 community level transmission. This also applies to buses or vans operated by public or private school systems. CDC rates Cook County as low transmission based on the three metrics it is now using to assess risk:

New COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population in the past seven days
The percent of staffed hospital inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients
Total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days

Additionally, the State Superintendent of Education indicated that “per the Governor’s announcement, masks are optional for all schools and school districts” starting Monday, February 28.

Therefore, as of this Monday, Feb. 28, wearing a mask on school grounds or school transportation is optional for all students and employees.

Please also note that SHIELD saliva testing will still be available on Thursdays, but it is no longer required for in-season athletes.

This announcement understandably will cause a range of feelings. While some of our students, teachers, and staff are comfortable taking off their masks, some will continue to wear masks for the foreseeable future. Please respect all choices that others in the building make for themselves. In order to stress this critical point, we will be helping our community make this transition during our advisory period tomorrow. We also encourage families to assist us by discussing the change, the importance of respecting others’ viewpoints, and your family’s choices with your child prior to tomorrow.

The pandemic has been a long, difficult journey for all of us. And I thank you, as always, for your support and patience as we continue to navigate these challenges together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Greg Johnson

Superintendent

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