Breaking News: Mask mandate lifted temporarily


Aaliyah Solano, Editor-in-Chief

  District 202 students and staff members no longer have to wear masks due to the mask mandate suspension. 

  “In light of the judge’s decision, masks are strongly encouraged for those who wish to wear them but will not be required in District 202 schools for students, staff or visitors until further notice,” according to a press release from Plainfield’s school district. 

  The suspension of masks comes after an Illinois legal dispute testing the legitimacy of the lead representative’s orders for masks and inoculations for students and staff in Illinois schools. 

“Although it could change, on February 4, a judge from Sangamon County ruled that District 202 could not mandate masks on students,” Principal Chris Chlebek said. “As principal, my goal is to make PHS a comfortable and great place for kids. Therefore, I think that under the current ruling, making masking optional is the best solution we have as it supports students who choose to continue to wear masks, as well as, those that don’t.”

  While masks are now deemed unnecessary, students who actually get the virus are still to be barred from school. 

  “Likewise, per the judge’s decision individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will still be excluded from school,” the press statement continues on, “students and staff who are close contacts of an individual with COVID-19 will no longer be excluded from school unless directed to by the local health department.” 

  Unvaccinated staff members are no longer required to take weekly covid tests as well.  

   Masks may not be vital to be in the building anymore, however, they still must be worn on certain transportation methods. 

  “Masks must still be worn on school and activity buses per the Centers for Disease Control’s order,” the statement said. 

    The new implementation can be overturned in the forthcoming days or months relying upon how far the case goes. 

  “Please understand that the judge’s decision is already being appealed. This is just the first step of a longer process that may ultimately end up with the state Supreme Court. Therefore, the situation could quickly change – which means our COVID-19 mitigation plans could quickly change, too,” the statement said. 

Masking becoming optional has been discussed throughout the school year has started between students, parents, and staff.

“I think that the entire State of Illinois always knew, whether through the end of the Governor’s mandate or through the legal system,  that masking would become optional.  Having said that, on a school level, we have always been willing and ready to support our community whenever that decision was put in place,” Chlebek said.

 Updates will be made as new information becomes available. The last update was Feb. 10