D303 Board Announced Masks Optional For All Students Starting Feb. 8


Bridget Nelis

The D303 Board meeting to discuss the new guidelines under the judge’s ruling

Bridget Nelis, Editor-in-Chief

On Sunday, Feb. 6 at 3:00 p.m. the D303 School Board called to order an emergency meeting.

“We are holding this meeting because of an emergency. After the close of business on Friday, Feb. 4, a Sangamon County judge issued an emergency temporary restraining order(TRO) affecting the district,” said School Board President Jillian Barker to open.

Immediately after, the board moved to a closed session where they remained for 2 hours and 45 minutes. The board reconvened at 6:01. 

The board announced that they believed the TRO applies to all students and staff. Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 8 masks are recommended but not required for all students and staff in D303 schools, not just the plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit.

In their official statement President Barker read, they said, “Given the current rates of transmission in our community District 303 highly recommends that students and staff members continue to wear masks as a mitigation strategy to lessen the spread of COVID-19 in our schools.”

Under the judge’s ruling, D303 will no longer be contact tracing at schools and close contacts no longer need to quarantine. However, students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 are still required to quarantine per the Kane County Health Department. 

Shield testing is still available to those who choose to participate, regardless of vaccination status. Staff members who are unvaccinated are no longer required to test weekly.

Masks are still required on all school-based transportation under a Federal Order.

The Board did emphasize the fact that it is likely the Attorney General will file a motion to appeal the judge’s decision. If a motion is filed or the Appellate Court overturns the decision, D303 will return to the previous guidelines set forth in Governor Pritzker’s executive order.

The board also announced that District 303 will have an emergency day on Monday, Feb. 7. This day will be made up at the end of the year on Wednesday, May 25.

“In order to implement and respond to the TRO requirements, District 303 will be closed for an emergency day on Monday, Feb. 7. There will be no school for students and staff,” said President Barker.

The board meeting concluded with Citizen’s Comments, all of whom spoke in favor of optional masks.