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Illinois parents sue nearly 150 schools over pandemic rules

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mask, school, court, virus, education

(CNN/WSIL) -- A group of parents in Illinois have filed a lawsuit against nearly 150 school districts and public officials challenging mask and quarantine policies. 

Governor JB Pritzker issued an order over this summer requiring masks in school for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. 

The parents argue that Illinois schools do not have the authority to mandate masks or quarantine without parental consent and an order from a local health department. 

The parents are asking the court for a declaratory judgement on a number of contentious issues related to COVID-19 guidelines and mandates:

  • School districts cannot lawfully exclude students because of close contact without parental consent or a court order of quarantine
  • School districts cannot require masks without consent or court order of quarantine
  • School districts cannot require masks as means to limit the spread of infectious disease without consent or court order of quarantine
  • IDPH is not the lawful authority that districts can base their mask and exclusion policies
  • ISBE guidance is not a lawful authority that districts can base their mask and exclusion policies

Gov. Pritzker, the Superintendent of the State Board of Education and IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike are also listed as defendants in the lawsuit. 

Local districts named in the lawsuit include:

  • Marion Unit #2
  • Bluford district #318
  • Trico CUSD #176

Tom DeVore, the Bond County attorney attached to the lawsuit, has prolifically filed lawsuits around the state related to executive orders made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In several school districts, DeVore has secured temporary restraining orders for students against their school districts, meaning they could attend school without a mask. Many of the parents who already received temporary restraining orders for their children, including parents in Bond 2 and Carlyle 1, are listed again on the class-action lawsuit. The temporary restraining orders were limited to 30 days before an extension would need to be filed to continue school without masks.

There has been no comment from Pritzker on the lawsuit. 

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