Ruling Could be Imminent on Fate of Pritzker's School Mask Mandate

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An Illinois appellate court is expected to rule as early as Thursday on whether or not a mask mandate for schools can remain in effect.

That decision follows a court ruling last week that allowed some schools to rescind mask mandates, while causing confusion about which other institutions could follow suit.

Several schools not listed among those filing suit in that case have already moved forward with making masks optional, something that Gov. J.B. Pritzker says is not permitted under the administration’s current mask order.

“The executive order remains in effect. We still have a mask requirement in the state of Illinois,” he said.

Further complicating matters was a vote by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which opted not to extend the school mask mandate. JCAR, made up of both Democrats and Republicans, said that the vote temporarily suspended the school mask mandate, with three Democrats crossing over to vote to suspend the measure.

The governor insisted that the vote only reflected uncertainty over the fate of his appeal of the initial court ruling in the case, but Republicans called the vote a victory, and said it would hasten the mandate’s removal.

An appeals court is expected to rule on whether the mask mandate can go back into effect, but it’s unclear whether the Illinois Department of Public Health would be permitted to issue another mandate if the current order is struck down.

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