COLUMN: What’s to come with blocked mask mandate?


Ellen Dooley

Ellen Dooley, Columnist

On Feb 6, a Sangamon County Circuit Court judge ruled to place a temporary restraining order on Governor J.B. Pritzker’s mask mandate across the state in public schools. Is this the best thing to happen in the recent Omicron COVID-19 surge? Absolutely not.

For years, parents have been fighting to take away the mask mandate. For some schools, they barely enforce masks. Their own administration does not even follow these guidelines. How could you enforce masks when your teachers or administrators do not even wear them?

Parents would rather spend hundreds of dollars to hire a lawyer to represent the whole state of Illinois than follow a simple rule. In my opinion, that is absolutely ignorant. This disagreement all just boils down to one thing-not wanting the other side of the aisle to win. It is not about caring for others or yourself, it is about causing conflict.

What does this mean for the coming future? Well, this is only a temporary restraining order. The governor ordered a repeal, so this restraining order may not last long. Many schools are choosing to stay safe and follow CDC guidelines. Chicago Public Schools will continue to keep the mandate in their schools despite the restraining order. I hope more school districts will continue in the footsteps of CPS. I believe they are looking out for their students and their students’ health.

My thought is-what if it was another judge? What if it was another county? What if it was even in a different state? Would the outcome of this decision be completely different? Why even pursue this case if you knew the judge was going to rule against you? There are a lot of questions that come to mind.

What about my health? That is a big question that comes to my mind. As a student pursuing a degree in education, I will be in classrooms off campus. I know I am not comfortable being in a room with twenty plus people with no mask or social distancing. I could have a N-95 mask and I do not think there is enough hand sanitizer in the world to make me any more at ease.

There are a lot of possibilities that could happen. The state could even repeal the restraining order, and this could be done within a week. I like what Governor Pritzker said in a statement about the hearing, “The grave consequence of this misguided decision is that schools in these districts no longer have sufficient tools to keep students and staff safe while COVID-19 continues to threaten our communities, and this may force schools to go remote.”

Remote. A word most students dread. Back to March of 2020 all over again. I think this is a setback in the fight against COVID-19 and I will anxiously be waiting to see how all of this plays out. Until then-stay safe.

Ellen Dooley is a sophomore special education standard major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].