Chicago Archdiocese mask mandate lifts; questions remain for other schools after Pritzker decision

Group of students turned away at Mundelein High School after trying to enter unmasked

ByStephanie Wade WLS logo
Thursday, February 10, 2022
Illinois school mask mandate still unclear
The Chicago Archdiocese mask mandate has lifted, but questions remain for other schools after Gov. JB Pritzker's decision Wednesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- While Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday the indoor mask mandate would lift in some locations, those do not include schools, inside of which an intense debate has broken out over what to do about face coverings.

Some schools in the Chicago Archdiocese are changing their policy regarding masks.

Starting Thursday, some Catholic schools in the Chicago Archdiocese are making masks optional. The exceptions to this mask-optional rule are schools in Chicago, Oak Park and Evanston because they have their own health department orders.

Meanwhile, many other school districts across the area are still trying to sort out whether to require masks or not.

Some parents are urging mask-optional districts to change their policy. Others are arguing there should be no masking at all.

READ MORE: Illinois lifting mask mandate for some by end of month, Gov. JB Pritzker says

At Mundelein High School, where masks are mandated, a group of students were turned away after they tried to walk in unmasked.

A senior at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville also voiced his concern about mask mandates in a video clip that had more than 100,000 views. On Wednesday, he was denied entry into school.

"I don't have a problem with people wearing masks," Will Wysoglad said. "I have a problem with people making me wear a mask, especially now that they're not legally able to do it."

Some teachers in Lincolnwood's District 74, though, denounced its decision to go mask optional.

"There was a student that tried to remove the mask from another student," D74 teacher Stacy Panoutsos said. "And obviously the teacher put a stop to it immediately, but these are not situations that children should have been placed in."

Thursday morning, public health officials are still urging people to wear masks in public, as they continue to monitor metrics for schools.

"We still have the sensitive locations of K-12 schools, where we have lots of people, who are joined together in smaller spaces, and so that's something that will come weeks hence," Pritzker said Wednesday.