D58 BOE approves mask-optional policy beginning Feb. 14


Photo by District 58

THE MEETING: Board members listen to community member’s opinions on mask policies Feb. 10.

Kate Gross, Editor-in-Chief

District 58 held an emergency Board of Education meeting Feb. 10 to discuss the district’s COVID-19 status and mask policies in light of the parent-filed lawsuit against more than 140 IL school districts alleging that there was no due process in the statewide school mask mandate. After a Sangamon County Circuit Court judge issued a temporary restraining order to the statewide mandate Feb. 4, districts scrambled to address the changes.

Because District 58 was not one of the 140 districts named in the lawsuit, the meeting on Feb. 10 was classified as a “Special Meeting” rather than an “Emergency Meeting.” The purpose of the meeting was to propose a mask optional policy and listen to the public’s feedback on the potential policy.

The Board heard from various parents and community members in the public comment section of the meeting, with many speakers voicing their concerns on the impact of masks on childhood literacy and mental health. Several parents told stories of their children’s experiences and struggle to learn with masks over the course of the past year.

At the end of the public comment section of the meeting, the Board voted in a 5-2 decision to approve a mask-optional policy beginning Feb. 14. The Board maintained that although masks will be optional, the District will continue to encourage mask-wearing in ordinance with the IDPH’s guidance.

Shortly after the meeting concluded, District 99 scheduled a Special Board Meeting for Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Administrative Service Center “to discuss and take potential action on mitigation measures related to the 2021-2022 Return to In-Person Instruction Plan” according to a District 99 email sent to parents and students.

The public comment form is currently open in advance of the meeting. The meeting can be accessed live via the District’s YouTube channel.