Judge won’t rule on parents’ challenge to mask mandates before next Friday

Judge won’t rule on parents’ challenge to mask mandates before next Friday

SPRINGFIELD, IL — A Sangamon County judge has taken under advisement a case more than 700 parents brought against 145 schools over mask and exclusion mandates.

Earlier in the week, Naperville student Addison George used sarcasm in front of the school board to highlight her concerns.

“Thank you for teaching students that our own mental health is much less important than making triple-vaccinated adults feel safe,” George said.

Naperville is one of the more than 140 districts that more than 700 parents are suing to block mask mandates in school. The mandates have been in place from Gov. J.B. Pritzker since August. 

After hours of oral arguments spread over two separate hearings this month, attorneys argued for and against halting mask and exclusion mandates on children in schools. The parents are seeking a temporary restraining order.

During Thursday’s hearing, an attorney for one of the districts said there is no irreparable harm to students being required to wear masks. Parents’ attorney Thomas DeVore said the irreparable harm is happening every day masks are required.

Representing Plainfield’s school district, attorney Jennifer Smith pleaded with the judge. 

“It’s very important to all of our clients that we walk out of this court today or whenever you make your ruling still with the authority, whatever happens to the state, because we need that to operate schools,” Smith said. 

The governor and the Illinois State Board of Education are defendants in the case along with the more than 140 school districts. 

At the conclusion of oral arguments Thursday, Judge Raylene Grischow gave expectations on when a ruling will be made.

“I’m going to take it under advisement and I will email my order out when I am completed with it but it will not be before next Friday,” Grischow said.

Whichever way the case goes, DeVore expects an appeal from either side.

“Ultimately, these questions need to be asked at the highest level of our court system and that’s what we’re all going to do,” DeVore told WMAY.

A decision is also still pending in a separate case heard this week where dozens of school staff are suing 22 schools over vaccine and masking mandates.

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