MHS to continue community COVID testing, vaccine clinics

Bonnie Morris
Posted 1/18/22

MENDOTA – Superintendent Jeff Prusator presented data on Mendota High School’s COVID SHIELD Testing at the start of second semester.

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MHS to continue community COVID testing, vaccine clinics


MENDOTA – Superintendent Jeff Prusator presented data on Mendota High School’s COVID SHIELD Testing at the start of second semester. Reporting at the Jan. 17 District 280 Board of Education meeting, he said 312 tests were given to students and staff on Jan. 4, and there were 59 positives, which was higher than expected. But he pointed out that without the testing, it could have been much worse because many people are asymptomatic and the virus could have spread much more.

“I’m really glad the board chose to have this testing,” Prusator added. “They made the decision last year when numbers were down, before Delta and Omicron, but it has allowed us to continue holding classes in-person. This is the most important thing we did and I wish all students would participate.”

Prusator admitted that he was concerned whether the high school would have enough staff to stay open, but emphasized that as long as enough staff are available, they will continue in-person. “Our mitigations have worked and we believe it’s best for students to be in school,” he said.

Under current guidelines, Prusator said anyone who tests positive must quarantine for five days. If their symptoms are improving or gone, they can return to school on day six, but must properly wear a mask at all times for the next five days.

MHS has also hosted free community testing with large turn outs. Prusator said two weeks ago, 198 SHIELD saliva tests were given and last week 150 were administered. The next community testing will be on Friday, Jan. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon and as long as the demand is there, Friday testing will continue. (For more information, visit the Mendota Township High School Facebook page or phone the school at 815-539-7446.)

In addition, the high school hosted a vaccination clinic on Jan. 14. A total of 83 people received either first or second doses, or their booster vaccine. A second vaccination clinic will be held on Friday, Feb. 4 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. “The only downside of the last clinic is it was only for people 12 and above,” Prusator said.

He explained that the pediatric vaccine for 5-11 year olds requires different paperwork and the high school already has its hands full. “When we announced the vaccination clinic, we got a lot of calls from parents wanting to get their younger kids vaccinated, so the need is there,” Prusator said. “If someone else in the community could host a clinic for 5-11 year olds, it’s needed. We’ve done our part with testing and clinics – we’re tapped out.”


Principal Denise Aughenbaugh recognized two students, Faith Anderson and Jacob Ensor, for qualifying for the annual Illinois Music Education Association (IMEA) awards. Anderson earned honors for All State Chorus and Ensor earned All State Orchestra. They will attend the 2022 IMEA in Peoria Jan. 26-31.

  • Aughenbaugh said credit retrieval will be offered to seniors in the spring so they can graduate on time.
  • Freshman students who need intense math tutoring will be able to receive assistance from Sylvan. Aughenbaugh said the learning lapses for several of these students is significant, and noted that she has struggled to have their families communicate with her but will continue trying.
  • The spring musical this year will be “Cinderella.”
  • Freshman registration will be virtual again this year. Aughenbaugh noted that school counselors, Mitch Landgraf and Rachel Tarr, said last year’s virtual registration went very well and they recommend continuing it permanently.
  • The board approved Tom Corrigan as an additional volunteer coach for boys’ tennis.


  • Prusator reported on the ESSER II and ESSER III grants, which provide funding to help schools compensate for pandemic-related issues. While the ESSER II could be spent for anything pandemic-related, the ESSER III must be divided into more specific areas, which makes it more complicated. Some of the areas include additional counseling services, summer school, after-school programs, and addressing learning loss. “We’re trying to look ahead on how we spend this money, but we have until FY 24 to spend it, so it will change,” he said.
  • The board passed the second reading of IASB Board Policy updates.

The next regular board of education meeting will be held at the high school on Monday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.