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Illinois school districts split over masks during temporary restraining order

One group help a protest in Collinsville over their district's decision to keep enforcing masks.

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. — A temporary restraining order against mask mandates has caused mayhem across the Metro East this week.

The 29-page ruling calling COVID mitigation mandates “illegal” left nearly 160 districts scrambling to make decisions on Monday.

Some schools decided to keep their mandates while others gave students an option.

“You cannot ask a student to follow any of your rules when you cannot follow basic Illinois law," said Megan Cunningham, a mother and teacher in the area.

Cunningham began a non-profit called Speak for Students to bridge the gap between administrators and parents she said was caused by the pandemic.

Her group is against mask mandates and said kids should not be forced to wear them.

"This is not an anti-mask issue. This is not me putting someone else down for wearing a mask. This is masking harms my children. It's against the law." she said.

Cunningham is planning to rally against masks in Collinsville, Illinois, where district leaders said they were continuing with mask mandates.

"We are in unprecedented waters. This is not something that has happened in my life span or even generations before me let alone any other superintendent and most legal counsel,” said Mark "Brad" Skertich., CUSD #10 superintendent.

Edwardsville Schools have kept the mandate in place.

“We're kind of waiting to see what the final ruling will be but for right now, we're just continuing with our path forward," said Patrick Shelton, superintendent.

Other metro-east districts like Bond, Carlinville, and Highland counties decided to end their mandates.

Meanwhile, Governor JB Pritzker has implored districts to wait and has asked the Attorney General to fight the ruling.

“The judge's decision cultivates chaos for parents, families, teachers, and administrators across the state," Pritzker said.  

Speak for Students held a rally ahead of a school board meeting Friday night.

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