Wednesday February 9, 2022-Update from
Heritage Superintendent Tom Davis
On Friday February 4, an Illinois judge granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) for the plaintiffs on a lawsuit filed by some parents from throughout Illinois that challenged some state-mandated COVID-19 mitigations. For students, the challenge was the enforcement of the mask mandate in schools.
Heritage CUSD #8 was not named as a defendant in the case, and the majority of schools in the area were also not named. However, some area schools in the past few days have temporarily changed their mask requirements to “recommended but optional” within the school building.
After careful consideration and school board review, considering stakeholder feedback both for and against the mask mandate including messages and calls from parents, soliciting Heritage teachers and staff opinions, and consulting our district nurse who monitors local and school case numbers daily, Heritage Schools will pause the enforcement of the mask mandate beginning Thursday, February 10 for all Heritage K-12 students and Spectrum Pre-K students from Heritage who attend class at St. Joseph District 169.
Masks will still be available at schools and encouraged and the district expects utmost respect on all levels as this temporary pause begins Thursday morning.
Due to federal law, masks remain mandatory on all school district transportation including school buses, activity vans, and cars (including for driver’s education).
The school district will reserve the right to review and alter this temporary policy change at any time and masks may still be mandated in certain sections of the school and/or classrooms of the schools to comply with ADA or as circumstances may warrant.
Illinois schools eagerly await the outcome of the recent TRO and court case referenced above. The district’s pause is temporary as we await action from the appellate court on the case. Also, school health is paramount and local or in-school case numbers may require immediate change back to mandatory wearing of masks and pivoting may come suddenly, so all should be prepared moving forward.
Thank you for your continued understanding and patience during this unprecedented time and throughout this pandemic, which has now endured for 23 months. We will keep you informed as the district monitors the progress of the legal matter and how we are being impacted locally at Heritage. We also appreciate how many reached out to us with their voices the past several days, pro or con all were heard and considered in this process. Hopefully a pattern of respectful communication and discourse continues in the future on this and all school matters.