Bethany Lutheran School in Naperville Stripped of State Recognition Status Over Masks

Bethany Lutheran School
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Naperville’s Bethany Lutheran School is now unrecognized by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for failing to comply with the state’s mask mandate.

ISBE confirmed it has reached out to public and nonpublic school districts to address compliance issues. “These districts confirmed that they were not complying with the universal indoor masking requirement,” said Januari Trader, a communications specialist for ISBE. “These districts now have the opportunity to meet with ISBE and to submit a corrective action plan to address the deficiencies that are presenting a danger to students and staff.”

What Are the Consequences?

Schools that lose recognition status from the state will lose access to state funding and the ability to take part in Illinois High School Sports Association and Illinois Elementary School Association sports.

It remains unclear if Bethany Lutheran School is cooperating with ISBE. Bethany Lutheran School officials have not responded to requests for comment.

Non-compliant Schools in DuPage, Will Counties

Bethany Lutheran School joins a list of DuPage and Will County-area schools to be unrecognized by ISBE that includes Trinity Christian School in Shorewood, and the Lutheran School of Saint Luke in Itasca. Timothy Christian Schools in Elmhurst also lost their recognition status but have since regained it after changing their policies to require universal masking in indoor settings and providing documentation to prove it.

Moving Forward

“We will continue to act swiftly with both nonpublic and public schools that have confirmed they are not implementing universal indoor masking as required by Executive Order 2021-18,” Trader said. “ISBE will not compromise students’ health and safety. Masking is a safe, easy, and effective way to ensure all students can attend school in-person this fall, where they can learn and grow to their fullest potential.”

Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.

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