Quincy students without masks getting excused absences this week, unexcused absences next week

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QUINCY — Students who arrive at Quincy schools without a mask for classes on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday will be sent home and given an excused absence.

Those absences become unexcused next week.

Superintendent Roy Webb outlined the Quincy School District’s plans for dealing with students without masks in a Facebook post on Sunday. The Quincy School Board voted 5-2 on Wednesday to follow Gov. JB Pritzker’s announcement that masks are required for students, teachers and staff at pre-K through 12th grade schools across Illinois, regardless of vaccination status.

“This is a challenge for us,” Webb said of enforcing the mask policy. “We have not been in a position where we are trying to enforce a rule or policy, and we were not supported by a group of parents. The administrative team looked at several courses of action. Each level of our system will be a bit different, but they are all similar.”

Students refusing to wear a mask at any of Quincy’s pubic schools will not be allowed to go to their classroom. Students will be offered options such as a gaither, a shield or a mask. Members of the school’s support staff and administration will try to “problem solve” with students. If the refusal continues, administration will contact the student’s parent/guardian to pick up their child. 

If a mask-less student drove to Quincy High School on their own, the student will be sent home. A member of the school’s support staff or administration will contact the parent or guardian.

Freshmen students will start classes Wednesday. Sophomores, juniors and seniors will start classes on Thursday. All students at Quincy High School will receive an excused absence for refusing to wear a mask through Monday, Aug. 23 “while the school problem solves with the student/family … so learning can continue safely in line with district guidelines,” Webb wrote.

Unexcused absences begin Tuesday, Aug. 24 for high school students refusing to wear masks.

Students at Quincy’s K-5 elementary schools and Quincy Junior High School who refuse to wear a mask will receive an unexcused absence starting Monday. Aug. 23.

Students at the Early Childhood and Family Center who refuse to wear masks will be offered an alternative option while staff encourages students to wear a mask. 

Visitors will not be allowed in any school building without a mask. If a visitor does not have a mask, one will be offered to them. If the visitor refuses to wear a mask or alternative option, school administrators will meet with the visitor outside, or a meeting can be set up via phone or virtual call.

Unmasked students will not be allowed on a school bus. If the child is accompanied to the bus stop by parent/guardian, they will be sent home with the parent/guardian. Unaccompanied children without a mask will be placed in a seat on the bus away from other students and taken to school. Once the child arrives at school, school support staff and administration will work with the student to problem solve so learning can continue. They will contact a parent or guardian to pick up a child who continues to refuse.

Children without masks will not be taken to the Early Childhood and Family Center on a bus, since it is door-to-door transportation. At the student drop-off and pick-up areas, ECFC staff will meet parents and guardians to transition students into the building at the start of the day and out of the building at the end of the day.

Masks are required at all indoor school events. Unmasked individuals will not be allowed into the building for an indoor school event. People refusing to keep their mask on throughout a game or event will be asked to leave the building if they

The Quincy School District will accept medical exemptions to go without a mask or face-covering if the exemption is signed by a medical doctor.

“I understand many of you are very upset by (the governor’s mandate),” Webb wrote. “I want to point out many of the people (who) will have to enforce that mandate were not part of the decision. To blame or confront them would not be fair. Our principals, teachers, bus drivers and staff are just doing their job. They are required to enforce the state order, board policy and superintendent directives. 

“If you are upset, it is acceptable to peacefully protest the decision and continue to voice your concerns on social media. You may attend our Wednesday night (School) Board meeting. Talk with the board in public comment. You may take legal action against the district in the courts. You may have a petition for the termination and removal of the superintendent. These are not great options for us, but they are better than impacting the educational environment or causing our staff, who are there for your children, additional stress and discontent.”

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