Fremont School District 79 Shifts to Remote Learning Ahead of Reported Mask Protests

Masks will be required at district schools through March 6, officials said

NBC 5 News

Students who attend Fremont School District 79 in suburban Mundelein will participate in remote learning starting Monday as the district shifts to online instruction following reports of possible mask demonstrations and protests.

In a letter posted on the district's website, leaders announced an "adaptive pause" will be implemented Monday and will remain in place until further notice.

If protests were to occur, the district said, they "would create a substantial disruption to the learning environment and would negatively impact our ability to deliver education to our students."

A mask requirement remains in place districtwide in accordance with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's executive order mandating masks in schools, which remains in effect until March 6.

Confusion ensued late last week when school districts were forced to decide whether they should continue to require masks after a downstate Illinois judge implemented a temporary restraining order, declaring Pritzker's mask mandate "null and void."

The governor instructed Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to file a notice of appeal challenging the order.

On Wednesday, Pritzker revealed plans to lift Illinois' indoor mask mandate, with the exception of in schools, by Feb. 28, noting that the state is "seeing the fastest rate of decline in our COVID-19 hospitalization metrics since the pandemic began."

However, he said mandates implemented by local governments, businesses and organizations must respected.

In its letter to the school community, Fremont district officials said "we must continue to make student learning and safety our primary focus" and asked parents to help ensure its schools remain welcoming environments.

"Our schools cannot become battle grounds for differing adult opinions," the letter continued.

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