coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: School Masking Debates, When Restrictions Could be Lifted

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today

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Schools continue to debate masking requirements following a judge's ruling and Illinois' appeal of the decision, but there's a new concern forcing some district to switch to remote learning.

At the same time, restrictions are set to be lifted in both Chicago and across the state later this month.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Schools Continue to Grapple With Masking Decisions After Judge's Ruling

More than a week after the ruling first came down, districts continue to grapple with how to respond to a downstate judge's temporary restraining order on mask mandates in Illinois schools as a requirement remains in effect across the state.

The debate over whether or not to abide by the state mandate or make masks optional has sparked concerns on both sides, but the threat of demonstrations has left some schools switching remote.

Read more here.

Suburban Catholic School Principal Placed on Leave After Making Masks Optional

Parents at a south suburban Catholic school called for the principal's reinstatement Sunday after he was placed on leave for making masks optional in defiance of the Archdiocese of Chicago's policies.

Gathered outside Queen of Martyrs Catholic School in Evergreen Park, parents and children rallied in support of Doc Mathius, who was removed as principal last week.

Mathius announced masks would be optional in his school, saying mandates were starting to negatively affect children.

However, at the time, a mask requirement at schools remained in place by the Archdiocese.

Read more here.

When Could COVID Restrictions Be Lifted in Illinois, Chicago? Here's the Latest

As state and city officials provide more insight into the future of coronavirus-related mandates amid decreasing metrics, when will COVID restrictions be lifted both across Illinois and in Chicago?

While the state of Illinois plans to remove its indoor mask mandates in the coming weeks, Chicago health officials have begun to weigh in on when the city will follow suit.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday that the state plans to end its mask mandate for most indoor spaces by Feb. 28, with schools and health care facilities following suit at a later date.

Read more here.

Here's Why Mask Mandates Are Falling Across the US

As the omicron wave of the coronavirus subsides, several U.S. states including Nevada, New York and Illinois ended mask mandates this week for indoor settings, while others lifted requirements at schools.

Here’s a look at what happened with mask rules this week.

Where Will You Still Need a Face Covering After Illinois' Mask Mandate Ends Later This Month?

Though Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to lift Illinois' indoor mask mandate by the end of the month, some places will still require face coverings until further notice.

Where will the exceptions to the rule be?

Here’s what we know so far.

Archdiocese of Chicago Switches to Make Masks Optional Inside Some Schools

The Archdiocese of Chicago announced late Tuesday night that masks will be optional in some school settings, citing low coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.

In a letter to families late Tuesday, archdiocese Supt. Greg Richmond wrote that students will no longer be required to wear a face covering in schools located in areas where the local health department does not have a mask mandate.

In Lake County and most of suburban Cook County, the diocese wrote that masks will be optional beginning Thursday. However, masks will still be required in classrooms in the city of Chicago, Oak Park and Evanston to align with local health departments.

Read more here.

Northwestern Experts Say Lifting Mask Mandates ‘Is Clearly Not a Decision Based on Data'

As more schools across Illinois decide to lift mask requirements in the classroom following a downstate judge's decision, experts at Northwestern said removing face-covering mandates "is clearly not a decision based on data."

Dr. Tina Tan, professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, called lifting existing mask mandates "a little bit premature."

“Yes, there are many places that have gotten over the omicron surge, but there are still some places in the U.S. where the peak hasn’t happened yet," Tan said.

The timing also plays a major role in removing masks inside schools, according to Mercedes Carnethon, vice chair of preventive medicine at Feinberg.

“The timing of this is very poor because in Illinois, it’s still very cold so our kids are forced to spend most of their days indoors,” Carnethon said. “It would be one thing in the summer or the late spring when more things can be done outside where transmission rates are lower.” 

Read more here.

What If You Test Positive for COVID After Quarantining? Here's What Health Officials Say

If you test positive for COVID-19 after quarantining and no longer showing symptoms, do you still have to remain in isolation?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person is encouraged, but not required to take a coronavirus test after quarantining for five days post-diagnosis.

After five full days, a person can end the isolation period should they be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved, the CDC wrote online.

However, the CDC said the best approach would be to find an antigen test towards the end of the five-day isolation period.

Read more here.

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