Illinois School Mask Mandates Raise Questions

A stack of masks placed in the cubby of a student at a Carmi-White County elementary school.
A stack of masks placed in the cubby of a student at a Carmi-White County elementary school.(14 News)
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 4:55 PM CDT
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CARMI, Ill. (WFIE) - Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker announced earlier this month that all public schools would require masks for students and staff until further notice.

One superintendent thinks that this decision should be made locally, and he’s not alone.

”I’ve signed a number of letters, and written letters to the Governors office and to our State Board of Education,” said Brad Lee, Superintendent of Carmi-White County Schools. “Many superintendents in Illinois are banding together to make it local. I personally don’t feel like there’s a one size fits all for every district in Illinois.”

Lee says that based on recommendations from local experts, he does agree with students and staff wearing masks under the current circumstances, but not everyone shares his perspective.

”It’s not a good climate right now in many of our communities,” added Lee. “There’s a lot of division and I hate to see that. I do believe that we live in a community of individuals who may not always agree with one another but they still come together and hopefully this will go away as soon as possible.”

While many districts in Illinois disagree with the state-wide mandate, Lee understands that an executive order trumps his personal feelings and says his district will follow the ruling.

As for tensions in the community, Carmi-White County Schools hopes to have regained control over their decision to mask up or not by their next School Board meeting on Sept. 20.

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