Mask mandate concern at Southwestern meeting
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By Cynthia Haggitt
With the excitement of the start of the school year, it is important that everyone understands why working together can ensure a safe start to the school year.
The Southwestern CUSD #9 school board understands this position and is having its regular board meetings as scheduled.
On Tuesday, Aug. 17, the board approved minutes from July 20, the special board meeting minutes from Aug. 5 and the finance committee meeting minutes from Aug. 12.
On Aug 5, the school board met with several parents of Southwestern students who voiced their concerns over the reopening plan and were concerned about the mask mandate that requires all students to wear a mask this year. A discussion ensued between the parents and the board members.
“We did have a debate and some parents got passionate about the subject but we didn’t have any problems making parents understand why we have to follow the mandate. It has come down from the Illinois Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois government that masks must be worn in school and during indoor sports,” District Superintendent Kyle Hacke said. “Schools who do not follow this mandate could face legal issues from the state. School and sports programs could lose funding. Problems would happen for students and they could be punished by withholding diplomas.”
Hacke stated that it’s a sensitive issue for all involved, but Southwestern is doing what is best to keep its students safe.
In other news, at the Tuesday night meeting the board approved the custodian at Medora Intermediate School and approved the employment of the pre-Kindergarten teacher for Medora and Shipman.
The board also agreed to employ a high school physical education and health teacher for the 2021-22 school year. The board agreed and approved the volunteer football coach.
The discussion and approval of the district health services coordinator position for 2021- 22 was passed as well.