On Tuesday, an Illinois legislative panel voted unanimously to thwart a reissue of emergency rules by Gov. JB Pritzker that would have required K through 12 public and private schools throughout the state to enforce a mask mandate.
The decision by the Joint Committee of Administrative Rules came as the Fourth District Appellate Court was considering a Feb. 4 temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by 7th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow declaring the emergency rules “null and void.”
The emergency rules were put into place by the governor on Sept. 17 and expired Sunday. The Illinois Department of Public Health and the governor’s administration moved to reinstate the emergency orders, but Pritzker clarified Monday, at an appearance at Lincoln Land Community College, that IDPH filed the rule renewal with the JCAR on Monday as a “procedural step.” Pritzker said he has not considered what, if any, new rules will be proposed to JCAR by IDPH.
As a result of that action, the Illinois Fourth District Appeals Court ruled, “None of the rules found by the circuit court to be null and void are currently in effect…Accordingly, for the following reasons, we dismiss defendant’s appeal because the expiration of the emergency rules renders this appeal moot.”
The ruling posed late Thursday night is a setback for Governor Pritzker, who sought to keep the mask mandates in place inside schools despite his plan to loosen mask restrictions in the state come February 28.
The dismissal comes after a downstate judge ruled at the beginning of February in favor of a group of parents from across the state who sued over the mask requirement.
The governor then appealed that ruling, but in the meantime, a legislative committee made up of Republicans and Democrats voted Tuesday against extending the mask mandate in schools as the state waited for guidance from the appellate court.
So what does all of this mean regarding the school districts in Leyden Township ?
As of Thursday, February 17, 2022, Schiller Park School District 81 revised their rules and now masks are only recommended by not required for all students, staff and visitors; masks will be still be required on buses due to the federal CDC order that is set to expire on March 18, 2022. For the complete information on the masks and COVID requirements go to this link :
Franklin Park School District 84 is now mask optional; while River Grove 85.5, Elmwood Park School District , Rhodes School District and Mannheim School District continue to maintain a mask mandatory rule. On Thursday, February 9, 2022, the Leyden High School Board of Education voted a resolution without discussion to maintain the mask mandatory rule.