SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – Hundreds of desks at some Central Illinois schools are empty. It’s because many students failed to prove they got their vaccinations and physicals.
As of Monday, Springfield Public Schools District #186 said 135 students have been excluded from school.
“However, we were in the 1000s a few weeks ago and just last week, we were at 268,” Jennifer Gill, the district’s superintendent, said in a school board meeting Monday.
State law requires families to submit proof that they’ve met those requirements by Oct. 15, but that deadline has come and gone.
“After the state’s date, even if they have an appointment, we have to go ahead and exclude them,” Gill said. “They can get their schoolwork, they can make up anything when they get back. It’s just [that] they can’t be at school by school code.”
During the meeting, Buffy Lael-Wolf, a member of the Springfield Public Schools District #186 Board of Education, expressed concerns about what this means for students as they reach the end of the the quarter.
“For the high school students, that’s really important,” Lael-Wolf said. “A lot of them try to shore up some missing assignments and maybe do some extra work or whatever to shore up that first quarter grade, and if they’re excluded, that just really makes it difficult. So I really, really encourage families to get that done as soon as you possibly can so your student can get back in school.”
Springfield isn’t the only school district trying to get families to comply. Charleston Community Unit School District #1 Superintendent Todd Vilardo said about 70 of their students still need to, which is less than 1% of the entire student body.
“We reach out again, personally to the parent and encourage them and I personally even try to get appointments for them if they’re having difficulty getting appointments through a local health care provider, try to reach out to hospitals and clinics to support the need to have the child get returned to school,” Vilardo said.
Vilardo said they work to make sure students stay on track with their studies while they aren’t allowed in the classroom.
“We don’t want learning loss to occur, so we’d be supportive, our teachers would be supportive of ensuring that kids have work to be able to keep up on their learning, so that when they return to school, they can just seamlessly return and continue their learning progress,” Vilardo said.
Decatur Public Schools also has students who haven’t complied. As of Tuesday, 329 students still needed to follow through with the requirements, or 4.51% of the school district.