Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued a new mandate Aug. 4 requiring students and staff at all public and private preschool-12th grade schools and daycares to wear masks while inside.
The mask mandate brings the state in line with U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control guidance that says teachers and students older than the age of 2 need to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
The governor also stated that all high school athletes will have to be masked for indoor practice and competition, while coaches and athletes in outdoor sports will not have to mask because the rate of outdoor transmission of COVID-19 is low.
IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said that last month, nearly 15% of COVID-19 cases were in young children, up from less than 5% in January, and in July, 7.8% of hospitalizations were in people younger than 20 years old.
Shaw Media reached out to Kendall County area parents to see what they thought about the new mandate, which took effect Aug. 4. Here is how several responded:
Erika Sieh: “Until everyone has the opportunity to get vaccinated, we shouldn’t even be talking about dropping the masks. Our children need to be in school, and this is the safest way to do it. It’s not about taking away your freedom to choose. You still have the choice to wear a mask or homeschool. But rather it’s about protecting the community as a whole.”
Dominique Castillo: “With all the unmasked water parks, events, festivals, parties, etc., I fail to see why we are still using the masks for show, but that’s all they are at this point in my eyes. Look around you outside of school. No one is masked and hasn’t been. It’s virtue signaling and nothing more...These kids are not masked outside of school. They are with friends and at each other’s houses. Just look on Facebook for proof of that. I do not co-parent with the government. My children will be pulled yet again and homeschooled. This isn’t up for negotiations with me anymore. I’m done.”
Jennifer Stamp: “I am a parent in District 308 (Kendall County) and my little girl is eight. By virtue of age, she is ineligible for the vaccine. I am writing to tell you that I am extremely grateful to Governor Pritzker for issuing a mask mandate for schools today. I have been advocating for masks in schools since the District 308 Board made the decision to make masks optional for the 21-22 school year. The decision of the Board, as well as the complacency of Dr. Sparlin, not only put our children’s health at risk during COVID-19, but it opened up pro-mask parents and teachers to a barrage of attacks by these extremist groups. As a whole, our community is less safe today than it would have been if the Board had simply followed CDC guidance and implemented mask use from the start.”
Kerry Sewruk: “At this point we have a divide between parents. The ‘Yes we have to mask’ and the ‘No I absolutely will not put my child in a mask’. Make the masks optional. There will be no grounds for lawsuits and we can go to school! People are finding arguments to support both sides, all federal health organizations flip-flop daily. Half think it’s political and some are terrified. The only solution is to go mask optional and parents can choose to send their kids with or without the mask.”
Cari Griseto: “Should the governor announce a mask mandate, my family and I will finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief! We are 100% in support of fully masking, and even though all of us (who are eligible) are vaccinated, we have never stopped wearing masks in public. Keeping our kids safe is of utmost importance. The governor is looking out for everyone’s best interest with mandating masks!”
Dana Camacho: “I’m writing to let you know that I 100% support Gov. Pritzker’s mask mandate for schools. I am grateful that he is doing the right thing for my children, and making every attempt to keep them safe. If there wasn’t a mask mandate in place, I would be very nervous about sending my kids to in-person school for the 21-22 school year. I know this was a difficult decision, but our elected officials are bound to do what is best for the community, and Gov. Pritzker is doing exactly that, despite any backlash he is bound to receive.”
Sarah Smith: “Pritzker is a perfect example of ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ While he will be putting his face mask mandate back in place, he will be most likely leaving and going to a home in a red state that he owns where they are not required. Let’s not forget last week when Chicago was bombarded with Lolla (Lollapalooza) fans and none were wearing masks (including the mayor).”
Susie Prather: “I am a parent of two young boys, living in Kendall County and I am beyond relieved that Gov. Pritzker has mandated face masks in schools! Face masks work best at keeping the wearer’s germs from spreading, so that’s why it’s so important for all children in a classroom to be wearing one. It’s not like a bicycle helmet where it’s only your business if you wear one or not. My oldest has Reactive Airway Disorder and is at high risk of complications if he gets COVID. This mandate protects him from others spreading germs and accomplishes what we all want: In-person full-time school!”
Comments have been edited for length and grammar