Naperville School District 203 and Indian Prairie School District 204 say they will continue their mask mandate and other current COVID-19 mitigations, despite a recent ruling by a Sangamon County judge that disputes their legality.
On Friday a Sangamon County judge issued a temporary restraining order against Governor J.B. Pritzker’s mask mandate in schools. Judge Raylene Grischow declared that policy, as well as other emergency rules like mandated vaccinations for school employees, effectively “null and void,” in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of parents from 146 school districts. Districts 203 and 204 were both named as defendants in the case.
Current Mitigations Will Remain
In a message to the District 203 community, the District 203 Board of Education and Superintendent Dan Bridges said, “Due to a separate ruling limiting the scope of the litigation and based on advice from our legal counsel, the order applies only to the parties to the lawsuit. The temporary restraining order will be appealed and may be stayed, meaning that the order could be placed on hold while the appeal is decided.”
District 204 Superintendent Dr. Adrian Talley sent out a similar message with that same sentiment.
Both districts noted the uncertainty of the legal effect of the order and the “significant confusion” in reports about the order, as part of the reason for their decision to continue their status quo in regards to COVID-19 mitigations. Bridges and the board said District 203 would “continue to implement the same layered mitigation strategies, per the guidance of the national (CDC), state (IDPH), and local (DCHD) health departments that have allowed us to successfully navigate through the school year.” Those include all protocols in the District 203 Return to Learn plan.
Talley noted the same, saying, “The District will continue to follow and implement its safe return to school plan.” He added that D204 would continue to follow its exclusion procedures for symptomatic individuals and close contact tracing.
Parties In Lawsuit Are Exception
Both districts said the only exceptions to these mitigations are for those parties specifically named in the lawsuit.
The updates from both districts followed emergency Board of Education meetings held by both this afternoon.
Both districts said they would continue to provide updates to come as the legal process plays out.
Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.
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photo courtesy: District 203