RPS205 Lifts Mask Mandate


photo by Jamariya Caldwell

Students and staff no longer need to wear masks starting Tuesday.

Jonathan Dumois, News Director & Web Editor

RPS205 students and staff no longer have to wear masks on school grounds starting today.

The school district made the announcement on Friday after an appellate court rejected Governor J.B. Pritzker’s request to overturn the ruling lifting the mask mandate by a lower court judge earlier in the month. The governor has said he will appeal the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court. Masks will still be required on school buses, as that mandate was put in place by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In the announcement, Dr. Ehren Jarrett, Superintendent of RPS205, said that the district will continue to treat COVID-19 “like we do other illnesses” and that they continue to follow guidance from state and local health officials. In addition, the district says that they will continue to provide rapid and SHIELD Illinois COVID-19 tests, alongside masks for students who want them. Staff who are unvaccinated will also no longer be required to test weekly for COVID-19, as was the requirement under the previous order.

A panel of judges from the fourth appellate court of Illinois said in a ruling made late Thursday night that the rules imposed under the order were “null and void,” as well as the court finding that the issue was “moot” since an “Actual controversy no longer exists between the parties or where events have occurred that make it impossible for the court to grant effective relief.”

The court has also cited the decision by the Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, a bipartisan committee,  to reject the renewal of the rules from the Illinois Department of Public Health in a 9-0 decision, with some committee members citing the ruling made by the lower court judge in Sangamon County as the reason.

“To me, it’s an irresponsible action of government to just essentially thumb your nose at another branch of government that has properly ruled,” State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) saying to WGEM on the ruling.