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School Board Approves Plan to Make Masks Optional

By Travis Volz

The West Washington County Unit District 10 School Board approved moving to Tier 2 in the district’s Return to Learn Plan at a special meeting held last Wednesday.

Following a ruling by a judge that struck down Governor J.B. Pritzker’s mask mandates in school, the district began making masks optional last Tuesday, in line with the plan formulated prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Even though Superintendent Keith Senior had already notified parents that masks for students would be optional starting last Tuesday, a special meeting was called in order for the board to provide input on the decision.

After the Sangamon County judge struck down the mandates Friday, Senior said he spent hours on the phone with lawyers and school administrators from across the state Sunday. Those discussions resulted in Senior’s decision to make masks optional in the district.

“The lawyers said that starting Monday morning, if you were going to require kids to put a mask on, if you were going to test your unvaccinated staff, or if you were going to exclude close contact, you are going to get sued,” Senior said.

The advice from the attorneys was that the ruling meant that Pritzker’s orders were beyond the scope of his powers, making local districts the authorities. He also said they recommended local boards weigh in on the question, which was the reason for the special meeting.

Read the full story in this week’s issue

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