Lake Forest Supt. calls on Pritzker to let schools make decisions about masks, vaccines

When it comes to back-to-school this fall, Governor J.B. Pritzker has said the state of Illinois will follow CDC guidance.

That means vaccinated students and teachers are not required to wear masks. However, those who are not vaccinated should wear a mask in the classroom. The guidance is not sitting well with a lot of schools and parents.

The superintendent of Lake Forest School District 67 and District 115 is calling on the governor to let local school districts decide for themselves.

In a letter to Pritzker, Superintendent Matthew Montgomery first thanked the governor for his leadership during the pandemic.

"I understand and respect the pressure and competing interests you are facing…yet we both know there is no one-size-fits-all solution for this pandemic," Montgomery writes.

"Mitigation strategies are best determined by the people most closely serving our students, staff, and families…I firmly believe it is in the best interest of our entire school community to return local control to our Illinois school districts," he continues.

Montgomery cites his experience in Ohio, where he was a school superintendent last year.

He says students in his district went to school in person "all day, every day for the entire 2020-2021 school year," with no uptick in COVID cases or any outbreaks.


He credits community support and latitude from the governor.

Like many parents and other administrators in Illinois, he’s hoping Pritzker will have a change of heart.

According to Jordan Abudayyeh, the governor’s press secretary, "what the School administrators from Lake County are asking for is already policy and has been in place since Friday."

In fact, on Saturday the Illinois state board of education released mask guidance which says, "If school administrators decide to remove any of the prevention strategies for their school based on local conditions, they should remove them one at a time and monitor closely for any increases in COVID-19 cases."