Pritzker Says TRO on School Mask Mandate is ‘Chaos’

By Benjamin Cox on February 8, 2022 at 1:16pm

Governor J.B. Pritzker says the state is moving quickly to get a recent temporary restraining order against his mask mandate in schools overturned.

Pritzker said yesterday that the Friday ruling by Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow is out of step with public health guidance and is causing chaos for schools: “Judge Raylene Grischow’s ruling is out of step with the vast majority of legal analysis in Illinois and across the nation. Most importantly, it constrains the ability of the named school districts to maintain safe in-person learning requirements…Hundreds and even thousands of people in a community are affected when there is an outbreak in a school that’s gone maskless. That affects not only whether a school will go remote, but also whether workers at local businesses will get sick; and therefore, whether those businesses can stay open. Poor legal reasoning should not take one of our most effective tools off the table. So, again, I’ve asked the Attorney General to continue to aggressively appeal this decision so that school districts can do what they need to do to keep students, staff, and the community safe.”

Jacksonville School District 117, Virginia School District, and several other districts in the region have gone to mask-optional policies awaiting the ruling.

The Southern Illinois attorney at the center of the suit, Thomas DeVore, says school districts are on notice and he told the State Journal Register yesterday that any district enforcing the mask rule would be doing so at their own legal and financial peril.

DeVore told WMAY that he would seek a contempt of court ruling against Chicago Public Schools, who was planning to keep the mask mandate in place despite the TRO.

A ruling on the stay of the TRO has yet to be issued by the Fourth District Appellate Court.