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Things to know so far – NBC Chicago

A junior Illinois judge gave the verdict last weekend that effectively prohibits the statewide mask requirement in schools, causing a lot of confusion from school districts across the state.

So what does it mean, how do the fields react and what’s next? Here’s what we know so far.

What exactly happened to the ruling?

A judge in Sangamon County downstairs issued a temporary restraining order Friday outlawing mask-wearing requirements for students in many school districts across the state.

Parents filed a lawsuit against more than 140 school districts, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education last year, alleging there was no proper handling of Illinois’ statewide mask order.

Judge Raylene Grischow of Sangamon District Court heard oral arguments in the case earlier this month before issuing the temporary restraining order.

READ: Judge Raylene Grischow was full rule here.

The ruling released Friday afternoon claims the defendants are temporarily restricted from ordering school districts to require masks for students and teachers – unless ordered to quarantine by the local health department. .

The judge’s decision covers school districts across the state but does not include the Chicago Public Schools.

According to the ruling, the collective bargaining agreements remain in effect, like the one between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union.

What happens next?

Now that the judge has delivered the much-anticipated verdict, what are the next steps?

The State of Illinois has announced that it will appeal the decision. with Pritzker late Friday calling the ruling “a mistake.”

The governor’s office issued a statement saying schools could be forced to remotely operate if they don’t have the proper tools in place to keep students and staff safe.

Pritzker had harsh words for the judge’s decision and quickly urged the state attorney general’s office to appeal, suggesting the ruling could trigger another surge of the virus.

“The dire consequence of this misguided decision is that schools in these counties no longer have the tools to keep students and staff safe as COVID-19 continues to threaten our communities – and this could force schools to go away,” Pritzker said in a statement. “This shows once again that mask regulation and school exclusion protocols are essential tools to keep schools open and everyone safe.”

Justice Minister Kwame Raoul agreed with Pritzker that the ruling would make it more difficult to protect students and school staff from the virus, and said he would appeal.

“This decision sends the message that all students do not have the same right to safely access schools and classrooms in Illinois, especially if they have disabilities or other health problems.” Raoul said in a statement.

How did the schools react?

As school districts across the state begin to interpret the order, various actions will be taken.

At least one Illinois school district has canceled classes for Monday, and many others have decided to recommend masks.

Geneva Community United School District 304 said it would cancel classes on Monday, explaining that adopting an emergency day was in its best interest.

Dr Kent said: “We recognize the challenges this decision may pose for our family, but given the flexibility of the situation, we felt that the moment was necessary to establish effective plan for any potential impact on our students, staff, and school community. Mutchler, general manager.

Unified Community School District 181, which has schools in Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale, and Burr Ridge, said Monday will be an emergency remote instruction day.

“Given the many interpretations of the ruling and the status of State mandates, it is very likely that there will be disruptions in our schools, which will have a significant negative impact on teaching.” teaching as well as the health and safety of our students and staff,” the district said in a letter to families.

Arlington Heights School District 25 sent a letter to parents saying it will be in a “recommended mask setting” – at least for the duration of the Temporary Restraining Order.

Crystal Lake Elementary School, District 47 released a similar message explaining “mask wearing will be encouraged but not required at school and at all school-related events to staff and students.” , as well as visitors and volunteers.”

In the southern suburb of Burbank, School District 111 will “fully comply with the court’s decision,” but recommends that all students and staff in school buildings wear face coverings.

The Elgin Area U46 School District is standing by its request, explaining that its Board of Education passed a resolution last August supporting that the district follow recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. epidemic prevention as well as local health authorities.

“In her ruling, Judge Grishow, recognized the independent jurisdiction of school districts,” said Supt. Tony Sanders said in a letter to parents.

However, the district explained that there were students who got an exception because they were included in the lawsuit in which the TRO was issued.

District 128, Vernon Hills-based Community High School, will still enforce the mask-wearing requirement, except in cases involving the students named in the lawsuit.

However, others are waiting for clarification before proceeding.

Oswego Community Unit School District 308 said it is “consulting with district attorneys to further understand the impact of the decision on our students and staff.”

Some districts are put in a different situation by collective bargaining agreements.

According to the ruling, such agreements remain in effect, like the agreement between the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union.

“…We hope the mayor and CPS act responsibly and uphold our agreement to require masks – providing KN95 masks to every adult and child in our school” , CTU said in a statement. “This is something that the majority of parents and families in Chicago support.”

What are the experts saying?

Before the verdict, NBC 5 spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, about the state of COVID-19 in Illinois.

When it comes to mitigating relaxation in schools, Fauci says, “We’re not there yet.”

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/ruling-on-illinois-school-mask-mandate-lawsuit-what-to-know-so-far/2751408/ Things to know so far – NBC Chicago

DUSTIN JONES

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