Masks in Illinois schools: Some districts make it optional, while others still require they be worn

Passionate debate over masking in schools brought a school board meeting to a halt Monday night.

The back and forth has been playing out at school districts all over the state, as some are following a Sangamon County judge's ruling that struck down the mask mandate for certain districts.

Other schools, however, canceled classes Monday not knowing how to proceed.

Even school districts who weren't included in the lawsuit are discussing how to move forward, like Park Ridge-Niles.

A special board meeting was called Monday night at District 64 to discuss dropping the mask mandate at the suburban school with hundreds of people signing up to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Twenty minutes into the meeting, a group of mostly unmasked individuals made the meeting come to a screeching halt, demanding to not be put in the overflow space. They were allowed to stay and the meeting continued.

One resident asked the board to use their power to remove the masks, calling the past two years "chaos."

Another was worried that no masks might equal no staffing, making shortages even worse.

Park Ridge-Niles District 64 is not included in the lawsuit that the downstate judge ruled on, placing a Temporary Restraining Order on Governor JB Pritzker's school mask mandate.


District 304 in Geneva is on that list and on Monday, school administrators canceled school to allow more time to figure out how to move forward.

The district then decided Monday afternoon to follow the ruling and make masking optional on Tuesday.

Hinsdale’s District 181 also voted to make masking optional Tuesday, with a warning that it may change. That's because Attorney General Kwame Raoul is appealing the downstate decision, which may reverse the Temporary Restraining Order.