Masks are no longer required in schools after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a sudden reversal in his policy late Friday.
Friday morning, Pritzker’s office said at 12:01 a.m. Monday, the statewide mask mandate was being lifted for all places except health care and congregate settings, public transportation, and daycares. Pritzker said he’d review how that goes before lifting his mandate in schools.
While some parts of the state have been following the governor’s indoor mask mandate, other areas have gone mask optional with mixed compliance and little enforcement.
Over the past three weeks, hundreds of school districts across the state have also gone mask optional. That follows a series of decisions in the courts and a bipartisan legislative panel blocking the governor’s mask, exclusion and vaccine or testing mandates in schools.
Then Friday afternoon, Dr. Greta Massetti with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced masks will now only be recommended in schools where local COVID-19 metrics are high.
“And we know that also because children are relatively at lower risk from severe illness that schools can be safe places for children, and so for that reason, we’re recommending that schools use the same guidance that we are recommending in general community settings,” Massetti said.
Meanwhile, the Illinois Supreme Court Friday evening declined to hear the governor’s direct appeal of a lower court’s ruling against his mandates in schools. The state’s high court vacated a temporary restraining order citing the appeals court ruling the governor’s appeal was moot.