Teacher, staff unions file OSHA complaints because masks not required in Abingdon-Avon schools


ABINGDON — The Abingdon-Avon District 276 Board of Education will have a special meeting Wednesday amid continuing controversy regarding the wearing of masks and other COVID-19 protocols in schools. 

Members of the district’s staff and teacher unions filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding unsafe working conditions because the district is not following the governor’s mask mandate. 

In August, the board voted 6-0 to defy the mask mandate despite Superintendent Mike Curry’s recommendation to follow the mandate per legal guidance from the district’s attorney. 

Districts not following the mandate have been put on probation and risk decertification and other penalties from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Some Abingdon-Avon board members have reportedly met with outside legal counsel regarding fighting the mask mandate in court. 

The Abingdon-Avon Education Association and the Abingdon-Avon Teachers Association requested the special meeting to discuss the governor’s recent vaccine mandate for school employees and other COVID-10 protocols, according to a letter to district families from Board President Travis Hess obtained by The Register-Mail. 

The board will discuss and take action on masking, vaccination and testing programs, contract tracing by county and quarantine protocols at the special meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Abingdon-Avon High School auditorium. 

“We understand that there are many passionate opinions about the pandemic and our district concerning the education of your children,” Hess said. “We want to make it clear that we will hold this meeting in a respectful manner so all voices and heard and considered.”

In the letter, Hess refutes public speculation on another topic. 

“Our school superintendent has not been asked by the school board to resign his position,” Hess said, noting the superintendent’s employment status is not the purpose of Wednesday’s meeting. 

via Galesburg Register Mail

September 7, 2021 at 05:15PM

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