Wheaton parents protest optional mask rule in schools for upcoming school year

WHEATON, Ill. (WLS) -- Some Wheaton Community Unit School District 200 parents are outraged the district has decided to make masks optional for the upcoming school year.

"My superintendent is arrogant enough to believe that it's ok to roll the dice with the lives of our children, and that's unacceptable," said Ronak Maisuria, parent.

Parents are especially concerned for all the elementary students 11-years-old and younger who are not eligible for the vaccine. The district contains several elementary schools.

"We all have sacrificed, we need to do our part in the last few months to continue to protect everyone until the option is available for school-aged children," said Jill Caballero, parent.

"I don't think we're out of the woods yet, and I think the Delta variant is a great concern to me and to my family," said Daniel Vissers, parent.

RELATED: CDC says vaccinated teachers, students can go without masks

Supt. Dr. Jeff Schuler was not available for an interview but did respond with an emailed statement. It read in part, "District 200 is very cognizant of the CDC guidance and continues to prioritize student safety in our back to school planning, as we have done over the last 12 month."

As long as there are layered mitigations, Dr. Schuler said the CDC guidance does allow for local school districts to make adjustments to the mitigations.

The uproar over masks is happening in several school districts. Some parents took to social media to protest mask mandates. While following CDC guidance, the state is allowing school districts to make their own decisions. Some Wheaton parents are calling on Gov. Pritzker to mandate masks for the unvaccinated inside schools.

In a statement, Gov. Pritzker said, "School districts that choose to disregard this guidance not only are putting students and staff at risk, but also taking on extraordinarily expensive liability."

Regardless of what his classmates do, Kendrick Caballero, 11, said he plans to wear one.

"I don't mind wearing a mask because I know it protects you," Caballero said.

Parents said they will continue to protest until the district changes its mask policy in Wheaton.
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