Several dozen parents in west suburban Wheaton rallied and marched to Community Unit School District 200 headquarters Friday afternoon to demand the district continue to require masks in classrooms.
The school district recently decided masks would be optional at all grade levels when the new school year begins.
“It feels like they don’t care about my child’s health,” said parent Charlotte Sobota.
The state is leaving it up to local school districts to decide if masks are required, and that is not sitting well with some parents.
"You do not take away the preventative health measure that is most proven to work," said parent and rally organizer Ronak Maisuria.
District 200 said it is continuing mitigations such as masks on buses and physical distancing at 3 feet. The district also said it is cognizant of CDC guidance, and if local conditions suggest a need to adjust practices, "we will do that as we did all last year as plans adjusted."
Meanwhile, a debate over masks in the classroom is brewing in northwest suburban Barrington after Community Unit School District 220 announced it will not require masks for grades 6-12. Although the district said it recommends that any student who is not fully vaccinated wears a mask.
Some parents said the decision does not go far enough.
"Our community left feeling like we now have an age discrimination problem in addition to a masking problem for our younger students, who quite frankly have a hard time learning, seeing emotions in the masks," said District 220 parent Marsha McClary.
A spokesperson for District 220 said the Board of Education is meeting next week to discuss grades Pre-K through 5.
District 220 parent Ann Field said a rule to require masks would help resolve issues such as peer pressure.
"We want our kids to be able to go to school and be safe and the teachers to be safe and then come home and keep their families safe and so it’s not a big ask to wear a mask for anyone that is not vaccinated," Field said.