Illinois mask policy changes effect on Uni

On Friday, February 4, 2022, Judge Raylene Grischow ruled on the complaints brought by parents at 140 Illinois School Districts against Governor Pritzker’s Mask Mandate for Illinois schools. Judge Grischow passed a temporary restraining order on the mandate for all schools involved in the suit, on grounds that define masks as “a type of modified quarantine” and that requiring that students wear them violates their right to due process.

You can read the full ruling here


Since the passing of this measure, many school districts around the state have lifted their mask mandates, including schools that were not involved in the suit and are thus in violation of Pritzker’s original mandate. The University, in fact, plans to lift its mask mandate on March 1st for everywhere except classroom spaces. You can read the University’s policy here. Governor Pritzker is attempting to have the Illinois Supreme Court rule on the restraining order as soon as possible.


The question that seems most salient in relation to this news is: how will this change affect Uni’s mask mandate policy? In short, it won’t.


According to Uni Director Elizabeth Majerus, Uni’s status as separate from any school district means that no one can mandate that we lift our mask mandate. The decision, like all health and safety decisions, comes down to our Director (Majerus). The Health and Safety committee meets, discusses how to proceed, and then makes a recommendation to Dr. Majerus that she can choose to implement, or not, however she prefers.


Majerus and Associate Director Karl Radnitzer both noted that in the past Uni has followed the U of I’s lead when it comes to COVID-19 safety measures. However, the U of I plans to lift the mandate on March 1st and at time of writing I am aware of no such plan for Uni. According to Majerus, possible upcoming changes to the mask policy may include returning to the lower filtration mask of your choice, but masks will not be fully removed from Uni until COVID-19 becomes endemic, and it is very hard to say when that will happen.


While the ruling that affects the rest of the state may not directly impact what Uni does, it is important to remember that if COVID-19 cases rise throughout the state and local community, that will impact Uni students, faculty, and staff as well.