District updates COVID-19 guidelines

Haley Maser, Editor-in-Chief

As of February 22, masks are no longer required at Joliet West. Face coverings are also no longer mandatory on buses, due to recent changes in the CDC guidelines. 

After an Illinois appellate court dismissed Governor Pritzker’s appeal to reinstate his statewide school mask mandate, the school district decided to revoke their mask requirement. 

“I want to acknowledge that our students, staff and families have been patient, empathetic and compassionate with each other and we must remain to have empathy as we move forward,” said Superintendent Dr. Guseman in her statement. “We will not tolerate bullying or meanness of any kind towards anyone for any reason.”

The district’s announcement further explained that masks were still recommended, citing the overall high transmission rate of local zip codes at the time.

“There is no doubt that we will continue to have changes to our current COVID mitigation plan in the coming weeks, especially as we continue to move to a moderate or low transmission rate,” Guseman stated. 

Less than a week after the original announcement, transportation guidelines also changed. Due to the CDC’s updated guidance, masks are also no longer required on buses. 

As of March 3, Will County is in the low COVID-19 transmission category, according to the CDC. Per their new guidance, face coverings are considered a personal preference under this classification. 

Due to these updates, SHIELD testing is no longer a requirement for students. For those who wish to continue testing, all students must do so before their first class in room A22. Freshman can test on Mondays, sophomores on Tuesdays, juniors on Wednesdays, and seniors on Thursdays. 

“I’m excited to be able to see the smiles of students and staff who are mask optional, but I 100% respect and support those who want to remain wearing masks,” explained Dr. Gibson. “I still see a lot of students and staff wearing masks, but I’m hopeful that we all take the necessary precautions of washing our hands and staying home when we are sick so that the number of positives continues to dwindle.”