Mask Rules To Shift Across Illinois

Jake Snyder, Staff Writer

Well I think we can all agree, no matter what side of the Mask debate you may be on, Wednesday morning was crazy. Here’s what led up to the antics that you all remember.

Last week on Friday, February 5th, in Sangamon County Illinois, County Circuit Judge Raylene Grischow (seen on the left) announced that Governor J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 mask mandate was authorized illegally, which prompted a number of different reactions from schools across the state. 

In her ruling, the judge sided with about 700 parents who signed onto a lawsuit against 146 school districts, including Warren, alleging that students who object to wearing masks or being excluded from school for being a COVID-19 close contact are entitled to due process.

In more simple terms, the Governor over extended his executive power by putting the mask mandate in place according to Judge Grischow.

Some schools, such as Lake Forest, Antioch/Lakes HS, St. Charles District 303, and Geneva District 304 have removed or made their mask mandate optional because of the ruling.

Warren, despite being listed in the litigation, kept their mask mandate at the outrage of a group of students.

Early Tuesday morning, a student at Almond, whose identity is currently unknown, posted a call to action on a social media platform that said to “Come to [the] front of almond without a mask!!” 

Word spread like a wildfire, and soon enough, people on Facebook were involved. And the events of the board meeting that night made tempers run even higher.

Attendees, when talking to the board, called the mandates “useless”, “oppressive”, and “unscientific”. One speaker even compared the school board to a totalitarian government. Talk about figurative language, that’s one heck of a metaphor.

So, Tuesday morning, at 9:10, yours truly arrived at the school. At the beginning, there were about four adults with signs out by the parking lot. But when Dean Pagan told the protesters that they had to go out to the sidewalk, things escalated quickly. A large group of students joined the growing assembly of parents, who all began to chant “Unmask us”. A few students were interviewed, and gave their reasons for protesting which ranged from masks “taking away our freedom” to “the mandate being unfair” to “the students should have the right to choose whether or not to wear a masks” 


Warren Township High School students, parents, and concerned citizens gathered on the sidewalks along Almond Road, outside the district’s Almond Campus.

But then it was time for 1st period; thus, the crowd began to disperse and congregate toward the entryway. But that wasn’t the end of it.

As the group of students congregated at the entrance to Almond, they discovered that they had been locked out of the building, and were only being let in if they choose to put on a mask; naturally this did not please the group, and a chant of “Let us in” rose to a deafening pitch.

Eventually, the security and administrators began to let students that wore masks into the building, and the students who refused were taken to the Blackbox theater with Principal Parrott and Dean Pagan. What occurred in the theater is currently unknown, despite my attempts to enter the room and observe.

So where do we stand? The protests have made obvious the resistance against the mask mandate, and in discussions with students around the school it has been made clear that there are groups that want the mandate to remain in place. 

But if nothing else, Mask rules will be shifting in the next month or two. On February 9th

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker

at at a press conference, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker revealed that he hopes to lift the indoor mask mandate for the state by the end of this month, citing a decrease in hospitalizations. 


According to sources with knowledge of the announcement, the governor will announce a phased-plan to drop the indoor mask mandate in most settings, but that plan will not include a repeal of the mask mandate in public schools. 



Chicago Tribune

George McAtee, Videographer/Photographer

CBS2 News

NBC 5 News here

You can also read or watch the CBS story here: