Pritzker insists most Illinois school districts must still make students, teachers wear masks

Gov. J.B. Pritzker insisted Wednesday that nearly all Illinois school districts must still make students, teachers and visitors wear masks — except for a few districts affected by a downstate court ruling on the issue.

Others strongly disagree with Pritzker.

The governor, who is in the middle of a re-election campaign, appeared to reference opinion polling that he has seen.

"I trust parents. And what parents and doctors are saying is they want kids and teachers and the community safe. That's what I've been following all along. In fact, listening to a majority of parents, I think you know a majority of parents in the state of Illinois and across the country believe we need to keep a mask requirement in schools," said Pritzker. 

But the governor has sustained two legal setbacks in the past few days. 

First, a judge in downstate Sangamon County declared the state's Department of Public Health could not enforce, for now at least, it's rule requiring masks in schools.


While it applied only to several school districts named in a lawsuit, some argued the judge's ruling allowed any school district in the state to go mask-optional.

And some did.

By coincidence, that IDPH rule expired last Sunday.

When Pritzker tried to renew it Tuesday, a powerful House-Senate committee refused to by a vote of 9-0.

The next move is now up to an Appellate Court in Central Illinois, which the governor hopes will issue its decision quickly.