Illinois court dismisses appeal over school masks; districts no longer mandated to require them
An Illinois appellate court dismissed Governor J.B. Pritzker’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling against his mask mandate in schools, calling the request “moot” after a legislative committee suspended the requirement’s renewal.
On Thursday, the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court rejected the appeal, noting that the state’s department of public health on Feb. 14 had renewed the emergency rules, originally enacted in September 2021, but that a legislative committee had then suspended that renewal this week.
“Thus, none of the rules found by the circuit court to be null and void are currently in effect,” the court wrote in its ruling on Thursday. “Accordingly, for the following reasons, we dismiss defendant’s appeal because the expiration of the emergency rules renders this appeal moot.”
The ruling effectively means Illinois school districts no longer must require students and staff to mask up, though the decision leaves room for school systems to implement their own COVID-19 safety rules.
The Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, a bipartisan and bicameral group, voted on Tuesday against extending Pritzker’s mask mandate for schools as the state awaited guidance from the appellate court. The dismissal comes after Sangamon County Judge Raylene DeWitte Grischow on Feb. 4 ruled in favor of a group of parents from across the state who sued over the maskin
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