Governor J.B. Pritzker doubled down on his message about masks being required in public schools on July 17th. Pritzker, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike, and Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala filed a lawsuit in Sangamon County Court against Hutsonville Community Unit School District #1, Families of Faith Christian Academy in Channahon and the Parkview Christian Academy in Yorkville about the mask mandate for return to schools last week. The 3 school districts had indicated in a public letter that they would not enforce the rule in defiance of the order issued by Pritzker & ISBE earlier this month.
Pritzker told reporters in Waukegan on July 17th that he would not side-step the rule for anyone: “There is one thing that ever epidemiologist, every person focused on immunology, every doctor that I’ve talked to has said and that is wear a mask. I won’t compromise the health and safety of our children, or anybody that works in the schools, or the parents. I do not want any of those people put in danger because people are refusing to wear a mask, so a local school district that decides to say, ‘To heck with it, we’re not wearing masks.’ I’m telling you now, we’ve got to stop that.”
The defendant schools are all represented by Attorney Thomas Devore who is also in litigation against the governor in Clay County, representing Representative Dan Bailey in the lawsuit about Pritzker overstepping his gubernatorial authority by issuing multiple emergency declaration mandates. Bailey’s case is expected to be heard today in Clay County court.
Pritzker’s law team said he filed the mask lawsuit ahead of the school year to hopefully have the matter of the mandate settled before students return for Fall instruction next month. No date has been set in the Sangamon County suit yet.