Kankakee School District Releases COVID-19 Mitigation Study | Local news
Kankakee School District Releases COVID-19 Mitigation Study |  Local news

Kankakee School District Releases COVID-19 Mitigation Study | Local news

KANKAKEE – The Kankakee School Board approved the use of an online survey company to gather community input on the continuation of COVID-19 reductions during a special board meeting Thursday at Kankakee Junior High School.

The board unanimously approved a 16-month contract with Canadian firm ThoughtExchange for $ 30,000. The agreement runs until June 2023.

The first use of the company will be to issue the COVID-19 mitigation study; it will also be used to gather input on other topics.

Superintendent Genevra Walters said the district will use the company’s survey platform to ask the community, including families, employees and students, about COVID-19 reductions, with the goal of sending the survey out by Monday.

The information gathered from the survey over the next week will then be given to board members and presented at the next board meeting on March 8, where the board will have to make a decision to continue the mesh mandate.

Kankakee School District 111 currently still requires masks, while most other districts in the county have already lifted the requirement.

During Thursday’s meeting, a ThoughtExchange representative was present via Zoom and explained the company’s services.

ThoughtExchange participants are given open-ended questions and invited to share their thoughts anonymously, according to the presentation.

After answering the questions, participants can access the answers of others and assess how much they agree with their answers. They may also return to view or add to the conversation several times.

The concept is that the school district can get an idea of ​​the most common themes and top-ranked thoughts that arise about an issue.

“What I’ve seen with the COVID reductions is that it’s extremely complicated,” Walters said. “If we allow families to explain it in their own words, then we will have a better understanding of exactly what they are feeling, versus ‘Yes, I like it’ or ‘No, I do not like it’.”

Currently, the Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to review the state’s mask mandate and other COVID-19 remedial orders for K-12 schools according to an accelerated schedule.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Tuesday filed a motion of appeal along with a motion for an emergency stay of a Sangamon County judge’s order to block the enforcement of the rules.

On February 4, Sangamon County District Judge Raylene Grischow issued a temporary restraining order blocking law enforcement, which requires schools to exclude students or staff from their buildings if they have been in close contact with a person who has COVID. – 19, and requires unvaccinated staff to undergo tests at least once a week.

In his ruling, Grischow quoted part of the Illinois Department of Public Health Act as saying that people should not be quarantined without their consent or a court order, concluding that the mitigation mandates were equivalent to some kind of quarantine.

Two weeks later, a panel of three judges from the 4th District Court of Appeals refused to review this decision, saying the issue was “disputed” because the legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules in the meantime voted not to extend the Illinois Department of Public Health’s emergency rules. , which puts these mandates in place.

District 111’s attorney stated that the appellate court’s decision confirms that school districts can adopt their own COVID-19 policies and that TRO on Feb. 4 does not restrict districts from acting independently in such decisions, Walters said.

Walters said the ThoughtExchange platform would be used to gather feedback on other issues in the future, such as asking the Latin American community about their preferred terminology [Latino, Latinx, etc.] and services they need from the district.

“I feel like we’re so diverse a society with such competing interests, and the only way for us to really understand what the majority of our society wants is to be more thoughtful about how we get that information from them. ” she said .

Another use would be to ask parents, students and teachers about their perception of competency-based education and how it can be improved so that the high school team can spend the summer planning for the next school year, she said.

“Any topic that directly affects a group of people, we would like to use this ThoughtExchange process to get a better idea of ​​how people feel and what the needs are, so that we can meet those needs early instead of finding out. of the need after we have started.the process of implementing what we need to implement, ”she said.

Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.

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