BREAKING: Illinois Gov. Pritzker Ending SOME Covid Mask Rules; But Schools Remaining Masked?
BREAKING NEWS: Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced today that he will be ending the state’s indoor mask mandate — but Illinois schools may still have a mask restriction in place.
During a press conference, Gov. Pritzker said he will lift the mandate for the state, with certain exceptions, by Feb. 28.
“My intention is as we’ve seen these numbers peak at about 7,400 hospitalizations, and heading downward significantly – we’re now I think under 2,500 hospitalizations, so that’s almost a third of where we were at the peak and heading even further downward – to lift the mask mandate in the indoor locations by Feb. 28,” the governor said. “And that… of course, we still have the sensitive locations of K-12 schools, where we have lots of people who are, you know, joined together in smaller spaces, thousands of people interacting in one location at a time. And so that’s something that will come weeks hence. But very importantly, things are getting better across the state of Illinois.”
The announcement comes as Illinois covid numbers have fallen, from over 40,000 just a month ago to an average of 5,825 cases per day. In addition, there are now fewer than 3,000 patients currently COVID-positive in Illinois hospitals, whereas a month ago that number was almost tripled.
According to a report by Chicago’s NBC affiliate channel 5, the governor will announce a phased-plan to drop the indoor mask mandate in most settings, but that plan will not include a repeal of the mask mandate in public schools.
Whether or not Gov. Pritzker officially repeals the school mask mandate, many schools have already dropped it, or have seen a mass of students and parents who have unilaterally ended it.
Thousands of students and parents statewide in Illinois are defying Gov. JB Pritzker’s order for mask mandates in schools upon the announcement of Sangamon County Circuit Judge Raylene Grischow granting a request from downstate attorney Tom DeVore to temporarily halt the governor’s executive orders on masking and quarantining for schools.
Across social media, parents from schools throughout the state posted pictures and messages about their children not wearing masks anymore, and the parents posted celebratory messages calling for a permanent end to masks in schools and during school activities. Many parents shared pages from the ruling as well as screenshots from the grassroots conservative political action group in part driving the lawsuit, Awake Illinois.
The president of Awake Illinois, Shannon Adcock, a Naperville mother of three, and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, went on social media to post of her elation over the verdict.
“We had a victory for liberty today, and the kids will finally be able to go to school mask-free,” Adcock said. “This is a legitimate due process ruling, and you’re going to see a lot of families pushing back now.”
Grischow’s bombshell ruling found that the measures taken by Gov. Pritzker to mandate masks are beyond the governor’s authority and deprive students of due process.
“This court acknowledges the tragic toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken, not only on this State, but throughout the nation and globe,” Grischow wrote in the decision. “Nonetheless, it is the duty of the Courts to preserve the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the boundaries of the authority granted under the Constitution.
“The (Illinois Department of Public Health) is limited by law to delegating its authority only to certified local health departments and has not been authorized by the Legislature to delegate any of its authority to any other body of government, including school districts,” she wrote.
Gov. Pritzker vehemently disagreed with the decision, issuing a statement late Friday saying he asked the attorney general’s office for an immediate appeal of the decision.
“The grave consequence of this misguided decision is that schools in these districts no longer have sufficient tools to keep students and staff safe while COVID-19 continues to threaten our communities — and this may force schools to go remote,” Pritzker said.
However, many parents are defying that order, with dozens posting pictures on social media of their kids going to school maskless, and many posting the viral message from Awake Illinois.
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