Parkview Christian Academy School Board President Jed Davis sent a letter to the Illinois State Board of Education Aug. 23, confirming the private Yorkville school will not be following the statewide mask mandate for public and private schools.
The mandate was put into place Aug. 4 by Governor JB Pritzker. Parkview Christian Academy, serving grades K-12, started the 2021-2022 school year Aug. 18.
“At this time, the School Board of Parkview Christian Academy has decided to allow its families to choose whether or not their children will wear a mask to school, and to allow its employees to make the same choice,” the letter, provided to the Record Newspapers, reads.
“Inasmuch as we anticipate this decision may provoke the State Superintendent to change the school’s recognition status, we trust Dr. Ayala will notify us that we are being placed on probation, like the public schools that have made a similar decision.
“For the State Superintendent or the Illinois State Board of Education to revoke recognition effective immediately would exceed statutory and regulatory authority and deny the school equal protection,” the letter continued.
“Whether Parkview were to be placed on probation or have its recognition removed without first being placed on probation, we trust we will be provided with the statutory or regulatory citation for any change in recognition status as well as the factual bases for any determinations that Parkview is not in compliance with the requirements for recognition.”
While the Yorkville school may not be following the state mask mandate, Davis confirmed separately that the cleaning protocol remains the same as the 2020-2021 school year, “which is ratcheted up a lot from previous years.” Public restrooms in the school have also been “refreshed” to allow for “a more hands-free/hygienic approach.”
Students who are ill are asked to remain at home, Davis said, adding that some students are currently at home because their parents have tested positive, “but the kids are healthy.”
Parkview Christian previously caught the attention of the state in July 2020, when the state sued the school and two others, after the school’s attorney, Thomas Devore, wrote in a letter to the state that his client intended to not require students and staff to follow the mask mandate.
A Sangamon County Court decision found in favor of the state in August 2020, but Davis said previously that Parkview would appeal the decision. On Monday Davis stated, “It’s not fully resolved, it’s just kind of sitting there. We’ll see if the state wants to resurrect it or not.”