PIKE PRESS: All four school districts vote to require masks
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By BETH ZUMWALT
All four school districts in Pike County voted last week to mandate masks for students and staff for the 2021-22 school year.
“People think we are doing it for the money,” Ron Edwards, superintendent of Pleasant Hill School, said. “The ramifications are so much more than money. If the state pulls our accreditation for noncompliance we the ramifications are huge and much more than money.”
According to Edwards, he knows of at least one school district in the state that has refused to make masks mandatory.
“They are on 60-day probation,” he said. “They received a letter from the state giving them 60 days to rectify the situation. Probation is the first step.”
Edwards said the school has no formal policy of enforcement, except to say the policy would be enforced.’
“We had no problems last year, except to remind someone to pull their mask up or down,” he said. “I’m hoping it’s the same this year.”
Pleasant Hill was expected to start school today, but is moving opening day until tomorrow due to the funeral of long-time teacher, principal, superintendent, Don Peebles, who died over the weekend.
Pikeland Unit 10 voted unanimously Friday morning in a special meeting to mandate masks. Approximately 20 visitors attended.
According to Carol Kilver, superintendent, letters were sent to parents outlining the mask mandate, policy and procedures for non-compliance.
“We have to get back to the business of educating our students,” she said. “We understand the frustrations, but the mask mandate is a mask mandate. It’s not just our school board’s decision, it is the health department, the school’s legal department, the Illinois Association of School Boards. We have to comply.”
Griggsville-Perry voted Wednesday, Aug. 11 to follow the governor’s mandate.
“We had a good discussion,” Kent Hawley, superintendent, said “We had 32 people in attendance and about 15 spoke. Most of them were against the mask mandate. Everyone was respectful.”
Hawley said he doesn’t expect any issues with non-compliance but if there is a problem, the student or staff member will be asked to put one on.
“After numerous requests to put a mask on, the offender will be sent home,” he said.
Western voted last week to follow the governor’s mandate and said in an interview last week, they expected full compliance.