Provide plan for air filtration & other non-mask COVID mitigations for District 67 & 115.

Provide plan for air filtration & other non-mask COVID mitigations for District 67 & 115.

July 11, 2022
Signatures: 84Next Goal: 100
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Why this petition matters

Started by Elliot Hirsch

The CDC has definitively stated that previous COVID infection does not protect against reinfection.

Students, teachers, and staff in District 67 & 115 wish to return to school in the fall, but should not be required to return to schools which are unsafe, or not as safe as they could be, with respect to COVID infection, reinfection, or other airborne pathogens.

While masking in District 67 & 115 has functionally ended (for better or worse) there are many non-invasive, wholly non-disruptive mitigation measures the District can take to provide the safest possible environment for all stakeholders. 

We are asking the School Boards of District 67 & 115, as well as Superintendent Montgomery, to:

  • Clearly and immediately communicate a timeline for COVID mitigation planning, and the dissemination of that plan to all stakeholders.
  • Create and share a collaborative and detailed mitigation plan which should include: 1) discussion of all mitigation measures considered and why some were chosen over others, 2) measurement & metrics for tracking the effectiveness of chosen mitigation measures, 3) triggers for actions or changes in mitigation efforts based upon measurement & metrics, 4) complete data transparency, 5) accountability in deployment, measurement, and effectiveness, 6) a complete timeline for deployment of all mitigation measures, and 7) clear and complete success metrics & timelines/milestones to retrospectively evaluate and adjust our plans accordingly.
  • Provide this plan well ahead of the coming school year, allowing all stakeholders to analyze and provide feedback on the plans to the Board(s) - potentially though special sessions if necessary.
  • Provide these plans with enough time to allow for individuals to conduct their own risk assessments based on the District's proposed mitigation plans, and potentially secure alternative school options.

The current COVID community transmission rates in Lake County are listed as "HIGH" by the CDC, and are not expected to decrease as the new school year approaches.  Sadly, the CDC and other local, state, and federal health authorities all universally agree that an increase in COVID rates should be expected.

The newest COVID variants slated to impact the upcoming school year are the most transmissible and pathogenic versions of the virus to date - making mitigation a key factor this coming school year.  It has been proven that these new variants have the ability to reinfect individuals many times over, and upon each subsequent reinfection, the acute health risks are dramatically increased, as are the rates of subsequent complications such as Long Covid and other serious, negative health outcomes.  Medical professionals agree that COVID infection should be avoided, and especially multiple subsequent COVID infections.

While masking has been a hot topic in our districts, the idea of safe school environments and clean air should not be controversial.  As a part of their mitigation plans (which may or may not include masking), we hope the district considers non invasive solutions such as the following:

  • Ensure maximum fresh air exchange (ACH - Air Exchanges Per Hour) in classrooms and all occupied areas of school buildings.
  • Monitor air quality and ACH using clearly visible, real-time Co2 meters in all rooms, and develop triggers or action plans when various undesirable levels are reached.
  • Use Co2 data to verify/quantify ACH.
  • Deploy in-room portable HEPA air filtration units.  These should: 1) be appropriately sized for the rooms in which they are deployed, 2) include a plan to ensure they are active and operated properly, and 3) include a plan to ensure their filters are changed and monitored on a timeline to maximize their effectiveness.
  • Deploy and utilize real-time air particulate detectors in all classrooms and occupied areas to monitor the effectiveness of our air filtration (both our HVAC filtration as well as in-room HEPA units) and develop triggers and action plans when readings fall outside desirable ranges.
  • Publicly state the filtration levels (MERV ratings) of all HVAC systems in the district and make that information public, on a per building level.
  • Deploy UVGI (Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation) units within the HVAC system to decrease the load of active COVID virus in the air, as well as other airborne pathogens.
  • Deploy far-UVC light lamps in the ceilings or other appropriate areas of classrooms and occupied areas to inhibit or destroy airborne pathogens such as COVID.
  • Develop requirements for open windows in classrooms and/or externally-facing fans in windows to increase airflow and air exchange.
  • Allow snacks and lunch to be eaten outside when weather allows.
  • Provide students with a safe outdoor means to have "mask breaks" when they require them, throughout the day.
  • Sign up to the Illinois SHIELD COVID testing program, allowing students and staff to test for covid using SALIVA-based-PCR as opposed to nasal swabs.  The SHIELD PCR tests are provided free by the State of Illinois and only require the individual to spit into a vial as opposed to using uncomfortable nasal swabs.  Using this non-invasive testing system, and promoting it across the district would likely dramatically increase participation in COVID testing.
  • Promote the concept, effectiveness, and need for voluntary weekly or 2x per week PCR COVID testing, ideally through the easy to use SHIELD program.  Our voluntary testing rates from the previous year are extremely low and messaging should be dramatically increased & improved. 
  • Make all covid testing data public (in aggregate) and provide it in a timely manner.
  • Make ALL air quality monitoring data publicly available, fully transparent, and provide this data in real-time, or near real-time, so all stakeholders can can understand the safety levels of their schools in real-time, take appropriate actions to keep themselves or loved ones safe, as well as provide accountability and oversight.


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Signatures: 84Next Goal: 100
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