Rochester CUSD #3a schools will continue with masks recommended instead of masks required with the Board of Education’s approval of COVID-19 layered mitigation measures. After Sangamon County Circuit Judge Raylen Grischow's announcement of a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining the State of Illinois from enforcing the Governor’s executive orders and IDPH’s and ISBE’s emergency regulations regarding masking requirements, exclusion from school, and vaccine/testing requirements in Illinois public schools, the District announced that it temporarily suspended enforcement of the emergency regulations. The resulting effect was the temporary adoption of a “masks recommended” mitigation strategy until the appellate court’s decision is received.
With a great deal of uncertainty existing surrounding COVID-19 mitigation measures in schools, the Rochester CUSD #3a Board and administration worked to build a plan to provide a path for consistency within District schools that remains true to the goal of maximizing in-person learning to the greatest extent possible. The possibility exists that the TRO is reversed and schools return to masks required. This type of “back and forth” in courtrooms is disruptive for students and the school community as a whole.
In a proactive move, the Board of Education reviewed and approved COVD-19 layered mitigation measures for all schools during a special meeting on Monday, February 14, 2022. “While there are many factors outside of our control, this type of plan will provide some stability to the education we provide. No matter one’s position, the plan provides a path and direction for all. Meaning, for those who are not in favor of masks, there is a path to have masks at recommended status. While those who are fearful of another surge have a path where masks may be required again,” said Superintendent Dan Cox.
The layered mitigation measures are based on three tiers: 1) Minimal Transmission, 2) Moderate Transmission, and 3) Substantial Transmission. Various mitigation measures are incorporated at each tier based on school and/or district level and county COVID-19 metrics with masks being required at tier 3: substantial transmission.
Current county and school level metrics support District schools remaining at “mask recommended" status.
The Rochester CUSD #3a COVID-19 Layered Mitigation Measures may be found here.
The PowerPoint presentation of the COVID-19 Layered Mitigation Measures may be found here.