SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — After the Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear Gov. JB Pritzker’s appeal of a restraining order against his school mask mandate — the governor announced it is being lifted on Monday.
In a statement, Pritzker cited the CDC’s decision Friday to update their guidelines for indoor mask use.
“I’m gratified that the Supreme Court vacated the lower court’s restraining order, meaning that if a school mask mandate needs to go into effect in the future, we continue to have that authority. I’m also extremely pleased to say that because the CDC has recommend that masks are needed only in areas of high transmission, the State of Illinois will move forward to remove our school mask mandate, effective Monday. We will recommend that school districts follow CDC guidance and will update our existing guidance in the coming days.
The temporary restraining order, issued by a Sangamon County judge in early February, declared Pritzker’s mask mandate in public schools “null and void,” prompting an appeal by his administration. The ruling prompted widespread confusion, led to protests and a majority of state school districts moving to masks-optional.
The attorney who led the challenge, Tom DeVore, said Pritzker has nothing to lift.
“He says ‘oh I’m going to lift them on Monday because of the science but we can do this in the future if we feel we need to,'” DeVore said. “That’s not what the court said.”
According to the Illinois Association of School Administrators, 94% of school districts are already mask-optional.
On Feb. 18th, the 4th District Appellate Court dismissed the state’s appeal, which prompted the Pritzker administration to ask the Illinois Supreme Court to hear the case.
Gov. Pritzker plans to lift the full statewide mask mandate on Monday.
At this time, it’s unknown if CPS will follow the recommendation. Prior to the governor’s announcement, CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said the district will keep requiring masks.