Downstate judge issues order against mask mandate for Illinois schools; Calls from Governor Pritzker’s Office – CBS Chicago

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – A downstate judge has granted a temporary restraining order in favor of a group that sued to end COVID-19 mask mandates in public school districts in Illinois.

Sangamon County Judge Raylene DeWitte Grischow’s ruling was released at 4:45 p.m. Friday. In addition to ruling in favor of those tough school mask mandates, the ruling also comes down against schools barring students and staff to enter school buildings if they are in close contact with positive cases of COVID-19.

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The order does not name specific school districts, but in a footnote it does state that emergency rules on mask mandates and other mitigations for schools issued by the public health department of Illinois are “null and void”.

Thus, the ruling said, “All unnamed plaintiffs and school districts in this state may govern themselves accordingly.”

A total of 144 districts — including many big names around Chicago such as Naperville, Lake Forest and Hinsdale — were named in the lawsuit in which the order was issued. The lawsuit sought to deprive the state and districts of the ability to require masks.

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In her ruling, Judge Grischow found that the parents who filed the complaint have a right to due process when it comes to objecting to any mitigation of COVID-19, which is violated by a general warrant of statewide school mask.

Following the ruling, Governor Pritzker’s office said the state attorney general is seeking an expedited appeal from the Illinois Fourth District Court of Appeals.

A decision banning masks and other mitigations could jeopardize the ability to keep schools open, the governor said.

“The serious consequence of this misguided decision is that schools in these districts no longer have sufficient tools to keep students and staff safe as COVID-19 continues to threaten our communities – and this may require schools to s ‘move away,’ Governor Pritzker said in the press release. “This shows once again that the mask mandate and school exclusion protocols are essential tools in keeping schools open and everyone safe. As we have done since the start of the pandemic, the administration will continue to work to ensure that every Illinois has the tools necessary to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

Chicago Public Schools had no comment Friday evening.

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One lawsuit in that case involved a group of parents lobbying for exposure, and another involved a group of teachers doing the same.

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