Peoria Health Department ‘strongly’ recommends universal masking for school year

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – The Peoria City-County Health Department is strongly recommending all schools begin their year with universal masking.

The recommendation in line was made by Peoria Health Department administrator Monica Hendrickson during a meeting of area superintendents Monday morning.

This comes days after the CDC issued guidance encouraging all K-12 students to wear a mask indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

Peoria County Regional Office of Education superintendent Beth Crider said at this time there is no mandate, but school boards have the power to change that.

“Your locally elected school boards represent their communities and they’re going to make their decisions based on what they think is best for their school district. The health department has come alongside and have their recommendations, and at the end of the day the school board will have the power to make the policy,” Crider said.

Crider also said as recommendations change, schools need time to consider their plans.

“We’re getting ready to start school within the next couple of weeks and there are a lot of things that need to be discussed or put in place, and if board action has to be taken, it may require a special board meeting. So we need just as much patience, just as much flexibility, as we needed last year,” Crider said.

Aug. 18 is the first day of school for a majority of Peoria County school districts.

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