Feb 1, 2022 - COVID

Mask protest planned at Illinois schools

Promotion for mask protest
At least two parents at Garvy Elementary School on the far Northwest Side have promoted posts for a school mask protest today in Illinois schools. Facebook screenshot

Some Illinois parents are urging their kids to go to school without a mask today to protest Gov. J.B. Pritzker's statewide mask mandate.

Context: The protest unfolds as a Sangamon County circuit court judge prepares to rule on a lawsuit against 146 Illinois school districts — mostly downstate but including CPS — that challenges the mandate.

  • The suit is supported by a conservative coalition called Awake IL that has called for the defunding of the American Academy of Pediatrics for its support of masks in schools.
  • The plaintiffs include about 700 Illinois parents.

What they're saying: "My job is to protect the people who go to school and to make sure the schools remain open," Pritzker said during a press conference last week.

The intrigue: Anti-mask protests remain uncommon in Chicago but this one has at least a few supporters on the far Northwest Side.

  • Two Garvy Elementary School parents posted "Mask Off" promotions on their personal Facebook pages Monday, but did not respond to requests for comment.

The other side: "The idea of any students at my children's school unmasking as part of a protest is scary," Garvy parent Laura Davis tells Axios, noting one of her kids is too young for vaccination.

  • Davis says she's appalled to see parents using kids, "as part of some sort of political agenda."

CPS comment: "We are confident that the vast majority of our school communities will continue to follow the science and our collective experience of preventing the spread of COVID-19 with universal masking."

What's next: The Sangamon County judge is expected to announce her mask ruling this week.

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