The lawsuit was filed Thursday against three schools that recently announced their refusal to comply with health and safety guidelines.
ACROSS ILLINOIS — Gov. J.B. Pritzker filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking a judge’s approval of his order that students, teachers and staff wear masks or coverings over mouths and noses to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The lawsuit was filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court against three schools that recently announced their refusal to comply with health guidelines released last month for faculty and students set to return to classrooms in the fall, ABC Chicago reported.
“As a father, I would not send my children to a school where face coverings are not required because the science is clear: Face coverings are critical to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” Pritzker said in a statement.
According to the state, schools and universities will be responsible for developing and implementing their reopening plans in line with general state guidelines, such as mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing, increased cleaning and disinfection, and at-school symptom screenings.
Defendants inare Hutsonville Community Unit School District 1, Families of Faith Christian Academy in Channahon and the Parkview Christian Academy in Yorkville.
ABC Chicago added that a lawyer representing Hutsonville Community Unit School District 1 in southeastern Illinois, Parkview Christian Academy in Yorkville and Families of Faith Christian Academy in Channahon wrote letters to the state board, citing that the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in a 1922 case that “government cannot make rules.”
The letter from the lawyer representing Parkview Christian Academy also said that the governor acknowledged during a recent news conference that no mechanism for enforcing the health and safety guidelines exists, and “as such, reasonable and intelligent people must conclude that a purported ‘rule'” that has no enforcement mechanism “is in fact not a rule, but merely a recommendation.”
Families of Faith Academy in Channahon advertises “In class, no mask preschool – high school” on its website. In a post shared on Facebook, the school says it has “intensified our cleanliness, hand washing and sanitizing protocol” but “due to obvious challenges, masks are optional,” adding, “because of the new government protocols for public schools, specifically social distancing and students having to wear masks, there is a greater interest in private education.”
The school also shared an article touting it as “standing up to the governor.”
Pritzker on March 13 ordered public schools closed — eventually for the rest of the term. School districts across the state are sharing reopening plans for fall 2020, with many schools set to begin classes in a few weeks.