Good evening, Bunker Hill CUSD #8 families –
As many of you are aware, at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, February 4, a court ruling was issued that has an impact on Illinois schools, both those named in the lawsuit and those that were not. The Judge issued a temporary restraining order that effectively halts enforcement of the Governor’s Executive Orders 18, 24 and 25. (Masking, testing or vaccination, and exclusion of close contacts) for those named in the lawsuit (which Bunker Hill was not). However, footnotes #39 and 40 make a reference to ISBE/IDPH guidance and emergency rules being “null and void” for all schools.
Since the pandemic began, our district has worked hard to establish a commitment to keeping kids in school, and our doors open for in-person learning and continuing extra-curricular activities. We have focused on teaching our students while following the ever-changing rulings and guidance to the best of our ability. This latest ruling has the potential to be appealed, but in the meantime appears to clearly indicate that this Judge has deemed those rules to be null. Therefore, beginning tomorrow (Monday, February 7, 2022) Bunker Hill CUSD #8 will temporarily suspend the enforcement of the Governor’s Executive Orders #18, 24, and 25. Our Re-Opening Plan was based largely on ISBE/IDPH rules that have been cited to be unconstitutional at this time. In absence of this ISBE/IDPH guidance, our district will now shift to following the CDC guidance, which strongly recommends all students and staff in PK-12 wear masks. However, it is a strong recommendation now, as opposed to a mandate. In addition, the CDC also requires masking in public transportation, which would still include our school buses.
What does this mean for students come tomorrow? It means masks are now strongly recommended but not required (except while on school buses). Extracurriculars will defer to the host school’s policy.
If any parent is worried about the health risks to their own child, the district has a limited supply of N95 masks available for students, which would be more beneficial for protection than some of the cloth character masks, according to the CDC. I would also like to assure parents that however their child wishes to come to school (masked or unmasked) they should do so without fear of taunts or ridicule. This will absolutely not be tolerated toward ANY student based on their choice to wear or not wear a mask.
Finally, thank you for your patience as we worked through this latest ruling this weekend. No matter how you feel about the masks or the pandemic, I hope we can all agree that how we have managed to move forward through some of these difficult days has been nothing short of remarkable, and our community is truly something of which to be proud. I personally am looking forward to the days when we can put Covid-19 behind us, and depart from talking about masks, testing, quarantines and instead focus on teaching and learning!
We are thrilled to welcome everyone into our doors tomorrow morning for the beginning of a beautiful week! Enjoy the remainder of your weekend, and as always, please feel free to reach out with any questions.