ALGONQUIN, Ill. (CBS) — Fights continued at Illinois schools over COVID-19 mask rules Tuesday – the second school day after a downstate judge issued an order halting the statewide mask mandate.
Drama was seen in particular Tuesday evening at Algonquin Community Unit School District 300. It really has been up to school districts to interpret last week’s mask court ruling and apply it as they see fit, and in Algonquin, kids are still required to mask up in school.
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As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, that requirement comes much to the dismay of dozens of parents
“I don’t co-parent with D-300,” said district parent Shelly Haley. “It’s my children. They’re my responsibility.”
“We are out here now to get the masks off,” said district parent Christine Zdybel.
At a rally outside an Algonquin District 300 school board meeting Tuesday, some parents wore their emotions on their signs – making it clear they are done with mask mandates inside the classroom.
“I’m angry,” Haley said. “I think it’s time.”
On Friday, Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow called into question Gov. JB Pritzker’s legal authority to require masks in schools. A total of 19 students in Algonquin District 300 were named in the lawsuit that led to that ruling.
But until the Illinois Appellate Court hears the case, school administrators are taking a narrow interpretation – only allowing those specific 19 kids to lower their masks.
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Mandates are still in place for everyone else.
Inside the school board meeting late Tuesday, emotions were just as high. One man was kicked after yelling at the board — which led to an extended break.
“I’m kind of disappointed, though, that adults are acting the way they are acting,” said Tola Makinde, who lives in the district. “I think it’s just sad, because our kids are watching.”
‘I think that it is important for our school board and for our superintendent to follow that mandate for the safety of kids,” said District 300 parent Ali McPartland.
There was no action taken on the masking policy in Algonquin late Tuesday. But the meeting did come to an abrupt end after a board member declared that the meeting was no longer being conducted in a peaceful matter – and he felt that it wasn’t safe to continue.
Meanwhile, with all the screaming matches, protests, and walkouts in Algonquin and other school districts across the state over the past two days, Gov. JB Pritzker has hinted at a plan to wind down mask mitigations.
“It’s a tremendous desire of mine to what we did last summer, which is take masks off, and see if we can’t get through this now that we have treatments, widespread vaccinations, testing available, and we all know to wear a mask when things get more difficult and there may be another variant,” Pritzker said Tuesday.
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The governor said he is hopeful now that hospitalizations are going down.