PAXTON, Ill. (WCIA) — As schools in Illinois continue to reevaluate their mask policies, Paxton-Buckley-Loda Community School District became the latest school district to make an announcement on the matter.

In a letter to sent to parents on Tuesday, Superintendent Cliff McClure said that the district will pause enforcement of mask wearing starting Wednesday. McClure named Ford County’s declining COVID test positivity rate, and the fact that the district has zero active cases, as conditions allowing for the pause.

The district will be returning to the guidelines that it had in place in July 2021: masks will be strongly recommended, but not required. McClure encouraged each family to determine what steps they feel are most appropriate for their children and family circumstances. He also encouraged everyone to be tolerant, respectful and empathetic to other people’s choices.

Because of federal law, masks will remain mandatory on all school district transportation, including buses, and could be mandated in certain classrooms to comply with the American with Disabilities Act.

The school district will notify parents if their children were believed to be close contacts to COVID-positive individuals, but the school will not decide on any exclusions or quarantines. That will be decided by the Ford County Public Health Department.

McClure said the pause on mask enforcement may be temporary, naming future court proceedings and possible increases in student COVID cases as reasons to reinstate mandatory masking.