Dear District 41 Community,
As you may have heard, on Friday, a court ruling in Springfield resulted in a temporary restraining order enjoining the Governor from enforcing his executive orders that require masks for all students, teachers, staff and visitors, as well as requiring mandatory vaccinations or COVID-19 testing for school employees. Approximately 150 of Illinois’ 840 school districts are named in the lawsuits. Because District 41 was not one of the districts named in the lawsuit, this order has no impact on our COVID mitigation strategies. We are aware that an appeal will be swiftly filed. An Appellate Court decision will likely come quickly and will very likely provide a ruling that will have a broader and more definitive impact for public school districts.
The District 41 mask requirement will not change at this time. When the District 41 Board of Education voted on our Return to School Plan for 2021-22, it included requiring masks for all who enter our buildings or ride buses to and from school. In addition, this information was shared in our annual Student Handbook.
All of us share the common desire for an “exit strategy” from the pandemic while recognizing that there is a high degree of disagreement on the where, when and how. I anticipate that there will be clarity provided regarding the future of mask wearing and other mitigation measures in schools along with a decision that will come from the legal appeal process.
I ask for your patience and understanding as our district navigates the latest changes to the COVID-19 guidance and rules for Illinois schools. For now, it is important to know that we are actively working on a plan that moves us forward towards normalcy while maintaining a commitment to safety, health, emotional, and educational wellness as we let the legal process play out. Let us be a source of consistency and unity for our students while the appeal process is in motion.
Dr. Melissa Kaczkowski