Chicago Public Schools

CPS to Lift Mask Mandate in Schools ‘in the Near Future,' Officials Say

As face-covering requirements continue to lift throughout Illinois, Chicago Public Schools officials say classrooms are expected make masks optional for students and teachers "in the near future."

According to a statement from CPS, schools would ease COVID-19 restrictions due to the low number of positive cases across the district and declining hospitalization rates.

"The details of such a transition are in development but once final, we will communicate with students, parents, staff and community members," CPS added.

On Sunday, CPS officials reminded parents that the masking requirements would remain in effect in the city’s educational facilities, despite mandates ending in public places and schools in the state of Illinois earlier this week.

The CPS mask mandate was part of an agreement reached between city officials and the Chicago Teachers Union earlier this year.

“To ensure the continued safety of our students and staff, CPS will continue to require universal masking in our schools and offices for now,” CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said.

Martinez said that CPS officials were “reviewing the latest masking guidelines” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which come amid rapid drops in both COVID cases and hospitalizations both in the state and across the country.

Illinois ended its requirement of face masks in schools on Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced after the Illinois Supreme Court denied his appeal of a restraining order in a lawsuit challenging the mask mandate.

In a statement, Pritzker explained Illinois will move forward to remove its school mask mandate after the Centers for Disease Control updated guidance to recommend masks only in areas of high COVID-19 transmission.

Last month, the governor and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said the state will ask the Illinois Supreme Court to review an appellate court decision making masks optional in school settings, noting the ruling failed "to address important legal issues."

On Feb. 4, a Sangamon County judge issued a temporary restraining order that blocked the state from enforcing the rules that called for mask mandates and other COVID restrictions in schools.

While the state appealed the judge’s temporary restraining order, the rules expired on Feb. 13.

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