It was face masks on as usual for students in area schools on Monday despite a ruling by Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow on Feb. 4 that Gov. J.B. Pritzker lacked the legal authority to require that students in Illinois schools wear face masks.
Grischow’s ruling came in a case involving two lawsuits. One suit was filed by parents against 146 Illinois school districts arguing that Pritzker’s executive order requiring mask in schools and other COVID mitigation rules were not legal. Another case was filed by school employees against 21 school districts and argued that vaccination and testing requirements for school employees ordered by Pritzker were not legal.
However, since Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200, Oak Park Elementary District 97 or River Forest District 90 were not named in either lawsuit district officials in those districts say that Grischow’s ruling does not apply to them and they are still requiring students and teachers to wear face masks in school.
“Oak Park and River Forest High School is not named in the lawsuit,” OPRF Superintendent Greg Johnson wrote in an email to families on Sunday. “As a result, there are no changes to our existing safety mitigations. All students, employees, and visitors must continue to comply with these measures. We are in consultation with our attorneys and will update you on any related developments as a result of the appeal.”
Superintendents in District 97 and District 90 sent out very similarly worded emails to their families over the weekend.
Officials in all three districts did not report any cases of students refusing to wear masks in the wake of the judge’s ruling, which is being appealed. Some school districts in Illinois opted to make mask mearing optional while many others continued to require masks.
“We had no issue with students refusing to wear masks today,” said Karin Sullivan, OPRF spokesperson.
At District 97, spokesperson Amanda Siegfried said, “We are not aware of any issues at our schools today. Our students and staff have always done a great job following our COVID-19 mitigations and keeping each other safe in school.”