Representative calls for choice for masks in school

Local News

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Classrooms can now open in Illinois, and school districts are hoping that will still be the case come fall semester.

If students do come back, they will have to wear face coverings inside. But an Illinois lawmaker shared something on Facebook contrary to that belief. Republican Brad Halbrook represents District 102, which includes part of Central Illinois.

“Tell your school district your child will not be abiding by the mask requirement,” he quoted in the post from an attorney. “Your school districts will have to figure out how to educate these children.”

We asked for clarification and Halbrook’s spokesperson sent a statement.

“Gov. JB Pritzker recently announced that schools would resume classes this fall but they would only be able to do so if they followed certain guidelines. One of the requirements is for students and teachers to wear masks. Once again, the state is issuing a one size fits all solution for the entire state. If a school district wants to have mask requirements then they should absolutely be allowed to do that but I think the decision on masks or no masks should be made at the local level – not by decree of the Governor. These 63-page state guidelines for schools will likely be challenged. It will be interesting to see what transpires and what will happen before the school year begins.”

Brad Halbrook statement

Pritzker’s Office responded to the post from Halbrook.

“The science is clear, face coverings help prevent the spread of coronavirus,” they said in a statement. “ISBE and local school districts worked together to ensure in person instruction requirements are feasible and will keep students and teachers healthy and safe.”

ISBE and the IDPH released guidelines on the return to school last month, and updated rules last week. Several school leaders say they are still discussing appropriate ways to enforce the guidelines later thise year.

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