As mask battles continue, at least one Chicago-area school is going remote to avoid protests

As students head back to school on Monday, questions over Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker's mask mandate continue to roil districts across the Chicago area, and at least one district is now going remote to avoid any trouble.

That follows a confrontation outside Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire on Friday as students and parents protested the school's decision to continue to require masking, despite a downstate judge's ruling that shot down the masking order.

"We're just advocating for a choice here,' said Stevenson senior Lilly Wangar. "We've been really suffering from adult politics and we've suffered so much. It's really just time we get our lives back."

Student walkouts have been increasing since a central Illinois judge issued a temporary restraining order against the governor's school mask mandate. Now some districts are taking steps to avoid in-school confrontations by switching to remote learning.

Fremont School District 79 in Mundelein announced students will switch to e-learning starting tomorrow, after the district learned of a planned protest Monday morning. In a statement the district said: "these protests include intentions to confront and/or interact directly with students. These protests would create a substantial disruption to the learning environment."

Governor Pritzker is appealing the judge's ruling and says while mask mandates may be lifted for most public areas later this month, schools still need to be protected

"The equation just looks different than it does for the general population," Pritzker said. "Schools need a little more time for community infection rates to drop, for our youngest learners to become vaccine eligible and for more parents to get their kids vaccinated.

Also announced on Sunday, Indian Prairie School District 204, in DuPage county, will  move to a mask-optional policy on February 22.