Originally published May 06, 2021

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May 3, 2021

To: District Parents/Guardians 

The past fourteen months have been challenging to say the least for our school community and for the wider community we share. On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to let all of you know just how proud we are of the job our students and staff have done in keeping our school buildings safe learning environments. Thank you to our students and staff, and to you, the parents and guardians of our students who have also endured significant burdens during the pandemic to abide by our schedule changes and when necessary forced shut downs and quarantines. 

I do, however, wish to remind everyone of the school district’s obligation to adhere to the joint guidance issued by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH); specifically, the wearing of face masks. In its updated guidance of March 2021, ISBE and IDPH state: 

All persons, including students, teachers, school nurses and other health personnel, administrative and secretarial staff, food service personnel, custodial staff, public safety personnel, etc., on the grounds of all public and nonpublic schools that serve students in prekindergarten through grade 12 must wear a face mask at all times when in school or in transit to and from school via group conveyance (e.g., school buses), unless a specific exemption applies.      

The Board of Education acknowledges that some parents/guardians disagree with the mask mandate and want the district to cease enforcing the requirement. Some parents have voiced their opinions to the Board, to the Administration, to office staff, and in some cases, to individual teachers.

While we welcome open dialogue with members of the school community, please understand the district must enforce the mask mandate. The safety of students and staff are of primary importance; to ignore the guidance issued by ISBE and IDPH would put at risk our students, staff, and the district itself.  We would also be forced to go to remote instruction for all students as masks are required for in-person learning. We do rely heavily upon state funding as well and have to complete assurances upon acceptance of state funds that we are following the requirements set by ISBE.  Until ISBE and IDPH change its guidance on the issue, all persons must wear masks while at school.  

Further, while we do welcome open dialogue, it is inappropriate to vent your frustration on teachers, office staff, and members of the Administration. Keep in mind that the Board of Education, the Administration, office staff, and the teachers of Central CUSD #4 do NOT establish the public health laws/regulations of the State of Illinois.

The Board of Education respectfully suggests that any concerns and recommendations you have regarding the continued necessity of wearing masks, and the guidance issued by ISBE and IDPH, are  more appropriately directed to the Governor (https://www2.illinois.gov/services/GOV/e-mail-governor) and to your state representatives listed below: 

Senator Jason A. Barickman - District 53, (309) 661-2788, https://senatorbarickman.com 

Representative Thomas M. Bennett – District 106, (815) 844-9179, https://repbennett.com 

Representative Jackie Haas - (815) 523-7779, https://rephass.com 

Senator Sue Rezin – (815) 220-8720, https://senatororrezin.com 

Feel free to voice your concerns and recommendations to the Governor and your state officials.  

On behalf of the Board of Education, I wish you all the best as we finish the 2020-2021 school year.


Sincerely yours,  

Paul Swanson, President of the Board of Education and Members of the Board of Education