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Brimfield Updates Return-To-School Plan To Comply With Governor's Mask Mandate

Brimfield High School
Brimfield High School

The Brimfield School District is updating its return-to-school plan after the state board of education placed the district on probationary status for deviating from the governor's masking mandate.

"Last night, the board voted to follow the executive order that was set forth by the governor," said superintendent Tony Shinall.

The governor issued that order on Aug. 4 after he claimed too many districts were opting to adopt mask optional policies as more cases of the highly infectious COVID-19 Delta variant are spreading across the state and country.

Brimfield's plan allowed for mask-optional policies under Tier 1 of its three-tier plan. That tier would apply when COVID positivity rates are under 10%.

The Illinois State Board of Education placed the district on probationary status on Monday, warning it to get up to compliance with the universal masking mandate or lose access to state funding and participation in IHSA and IESA organized sports.

The Brimfield school board held a special board meeting Wednesday to make changes to the plan. The change passed on a 4-2 vote.

Shinall said the Brimfield district's plan could change again, depending on how the always-fluid circumstances of gubernatorial mandates and COVID-19 evolves.

But for now, he said he's glad to have kids back in class for another school year.

"Yesterday was our first day. It was incredible. I can't say enough great things about the kids, staff and the community. We had a fantastic first day," he said.

The state said it will restore districts that comply with the masking mandate back to fully recognized status.

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