New Jacksonville High School Principal Joey Dion already has his first challenge in his first year at the helm. School districts around the state are facing several Illinois Department of Public Health and and Illinois State Board of Education guidelines to return to in-person learning this Fall.
Dion says that district administrators are currently working through how to enforce and ensure students wear masks inside the district’s buildings: “The directive from our state government will be that masks are required, and at this time with that requirement, we don’t have a choice. Opinion is out the door for each individual. You just have to follow the state guidelines. That’s what we are working on right now is trying to figure out how we can appropriately plan for that and make sure that each student wears one.”
Dion says it’s not any different than some of the requirements in businesses and other places in the community right now: “It seems cumbersome or a struggle, so I recognize that it is going to be a difficult challenge. It is one that our students can persevere in this. It gets us back to in-person learning, which I think is pretty crucial.”
Dion says that protocols are currently being written by the state and are being gone over by High School Nurse Cindy Weger to implement plans in case a student is found to be sick at the school. Dion says students will be responsible for their own masks, much like they would be for their own clothing. However, he says the district will have some masks to give to students just in case there is need for a replacement or a student was unable to obtain one. Dion says they hope to have plans finalized by the end of the month for all COVID-19 related restrictions.