Mendota schools not part of mask lawsuit; face masks still required in school buildings

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MENDOTA – Mendota schools will be among those in the state who will continue to enforce mask mandates after a circuit court judge late on Feb. 4 ruled Gov. J.B. Pritzker's mask and vaccine mandates null and void.

J. Bradley Cox, superintendent of Mendota Elementary District 289, issued the following statement:

As many of you know, there was a court ruling in Springfield late on Friday on the current pandemic mitigation measures issued by the Governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health. It is important to note that this ruling is not a class action lawsuit, meaning that its findings do not directly apply to our District. (According to legal counsel, the court that made this ruling has no jurisdiction over our District and community.)

Our current Plan was adopted by the Board of Education in August of 2021. This Plan specifically outlines that the District will follow the CDC guidance (“the District plan is subject to change due to a change in guidance or mandates from ISBE, IDPH, CDC, and the Governor’s Office”). The current CDC guidance can be found on their website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-guidance.html

The CDC guidance specifically says:

  • Indoors: CDC recommends indoor masking for all individuals ages 2 years and older, including students, teachers, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

This means that tomorrow morning (Monday, Feb. 7), we will all continue to mask in accordance with CDC guidelines, on campus and buses. As we have done all year, anyone who comes to school without a mask will be provided one prior to going to their classroom.

Superintendent Jeff Prusator gave the following statement for Mendota High School District 280:

On Feb. 4, 2022, a circuit court judge in Southern Illinois issued a temporary restraining order involving the masks mandate in schools, testing, and quarantining of close contact students. This temporary restraining order applies only to the schools named in the court cases. Mendota High School was not one of the schools named in the court cases. This ruling does not have a state-wide impact, therefore, I want to emphasize that this court case does not apply to Mendota High School. MHS is still subject to follow the Governor’s Executive Orders and the CDC requirements.

The State has appealed this ruling. Within the next few days, the court will determine if all previous masking, testing, and quarantine mandates stay in place until the appeal is heard and determined. The appeal process can take a few weeks. At the conclusion of the appeal process, MHS will make a determination on what our policies and procedures will be for the remainder of the school year.

We appreciate your continued support and patience as we work through this transition period. At this time, no determination has been made as to what our future policies and procedures will be. We are hopeful that as we proceed through the rest of this school year, fewer mitigations will be needed to keep our students and staff safe. Masks must continue to be worn on buses and inside the school.