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La Salle-Peru High committee recommends board policy on masks

Board member: It gives us stronger standing

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The La Salle-Peru Township High School Board of Education’s policy committee discussed what to do with the school’s mask policy at its meeting Monday.

Board members discussed whether to have the full school board vote on a mask policy or let the mask policy be handled by administrative procedure.

Superintendent Steve Wrobleski recommended the board set the policy on the recommendation of attorney Walt Zukowski, who also proposed some changes to the language of the mask policy.

“I think it should be (board) policy,” Wrobleski said. “It strengthens the district’s position to have the policy clearly spelled out that we are to wear masks in accordance with Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines.

“If you don't have something clearly spelled out, it creates more gray area.”

Board member Dr. Rose Marie Lynch said having a mask mandate as board policy will help the district if anyone opposes the policy.

“As (board) policy, it carries the strength of the school district because the board passed it,” Lynch said. “It’s not just an administrative procedure. If people are going to fight it, they’re going to fight it either way. It gives us stronger standing in combating it if it is a policy. If they went to an attorney, I think an attorney would tell them they have less chance if it’s policy than if it was just administrative procedure.”

Wrobleski said the policies for students and staff are similar. He said the mask policies includes language for medical exceptions and are consistent with the department of public health and the Illinois State Board of Education.

“Our approach that I’ve shared with our leadership team maybe more so with the kids — I’m not worried about the staff — is to balance empathy and firmness,” Wrobleski said. “We’ll start with empathy, but if a pattern emerges, I think sometimes there’s value in having some things spelled out as opposed to having gray areas.”

The full board will consider the mask policy at its regular meeting Wednesday, Aug. 19.

In other business, the committee held a first reading of the press policy recommendations.

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