Parents voice opinions on wearing of masks at Hononegah Community High School Board meeting

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Hononegah Main Entrance

A smaller than expected crowd attended the Hononegah Community High School Board meeting, Thursday, Aug. 19. President Dave Kurlinkus invited the audience to address the board with their concerns, including issues with students wearing masks at school this year.

Several parents shared stories about their children’s difficulties in having to wear masks at school. 

Each expressed hope that their children would not need to be quarantined and separated from each other.

Having choices and finding ways to compromise were suggested.

Carolyn Ripen, parent of a HCHS student, said she does not respect Gov. Pritzker’s mandate. “I don’t consent for my child to wear a mask at school. The emergency is over. Unmask our children.”

Kurlinkus said there are positive changes at school this year. “Last year we went hybrid in-person. This year it is all-person learning.”

Kurlinkus noted that Durand School District was put on probation that day (Aug. 19) for violating Pritzker’s mandate. (Under pressure, Durand later agreed to require masks.)


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Rockton resident Charlotte Larrison, a 1959 graduate of HCHS, asked the Board for approval to commission a statue of Hononegah, the wife of Rockton founder Stephen Mack, in an outside area of the school. She wants to ask for donations to fund the project. “Hononegah was an individual in our community that really made a difference.” Larrison noted that the 1960 class reunion will be dedicated to Hononegah.

The Consent Agenda was approved by the Board.

Superintendent Michael Dugan gave the School District report:

Setting goals for the next five-year plan was discussed.

Action was taken to seek bids for the purchase of a custom trophy case. The case will be partially funded by the HOPE Foundation.

The district is pursuing options for replacing the air conditioning in the Metal Gym. Dugan said the gym is old and the air conditioning units are not working.

Athletic Director Steve Cofoid noted there are nine fall season sports this year. He reminded Board members that the annual Hononegah Purple and Gold athletic event will kick off the 2021 season on Friday, Aug. 20.

Principal Chad Dougherty reported that there are nine new teachers joining the faculty this year. Three of the nine are graduates of HCHS. The new teachers took part in a three-day training program, each working with a mentor.

The four-year Chromebook Capital Lease Agreement with American Capital was approved.

“We welcomed 450 new kids this year,” Dougherty said. As part of their orientation, students and transfer students were given a tour of the school.

On Monday, Aug. 23, Hononegah welcomed 2,000 students back for the 2021-2022 school term.

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