Collinsville District 10 officials have approved their learning plan for the fall and clarified for parents when students will be required to wear face masks in school in an effort to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
District spokeswoman Kim Collins confirmed that school board members passed the plan at their meeting Monday night in Collinsville, with the caveat that it could change at any time as the situation with the virus evolves.
For now, masks will be recommended for staff and students who haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19. And there will be times during the school day when educators ask students to put on a mask.
Collins said masks will be required when it's not possible for students to stay at least 3 feet apart, including when they sit close together to work on assignments in class.
Collinsville Superintendent Mark Skertich told parents at Monday's meeting that there will also be classrooms in the district for immunocompromised students and teachers where everyone is masked, according to Collins. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says having a weakened immune system can make a person more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19.
The federal government requires students wear masks while riding school buses, so that is mandated in Collinsville's plan, as well as other school plans across the metro-east.
Parents from District 10 and other Madison County schools previously addressed the school board, asking that Collinsville not require students to wear masks. Monday's vote followed a public hearing, when school community members were able to give the board more feedback on the plan.
Skertich has said the district's goal with the planned mitigations is to keep kids in school.
"Our primary focus in creating this year's Return to Learn Plan has been on how we will provide our students a full-day schedule, five-days-a-week, while ensuring the health of our staff and students," Skertich said in a letter and video message to parents July 23, when he shared a draft of the plan.
"... We expect changes throughout the school year to ensure we meet our students' academic and social emotional needs, maintain a consistent schedule and provide a safe environment."
The Collinsville district includes 11 schools with students from pre-K to high school. There were 6,169 students and 418 teachers across the district in 2020, according to information from the Illinois State Board of Education.