Gov. J.B. Pritzker slammed a downstate judge’s ruling that temporarily blocks his mask and COVID exclusion mandates in Illinois schools, saying that the judge had “poor legal reasoning.”
“Judge Raylene Grischow’s ruling is out of step with the vast majority of legal analysis in Illinois and across the nation,” Pritzker said during an unrelated press conference Monday morning.
In a 30-page ruling late Friday, Grischow “deemed null and void” the governor’s emergency rules through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) concerning COVID-19 mitigations for schools.
Pritzker said the ruling “cultivates chaos” and he has urged Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to overturn it “with all possible speed.”
Schools impacted by litigation brought by more than 700 parents and dozens of school staff are temporarily restrained from enforcing Pritzker’s COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates.
Lake Forest school districts 67 and 115, who were both named as defendants in the lawsuit, announced they will not be requiring masks in their schools but will continue to recommend masks for their students and staff.
Several other school districts in McHenry County have announced they will not require students or staff to wear masks following the ruling.
Pritzker said that schools that were not named as a defendant should continue to follow public health protocols.
He said Grischow “created a tremendous amount of confusion” and made a “not good decision.”
“As for this specific case, poor legal reasoning should not take one of our most effective tools off the table,” Pritzker added.
Pritzker hinted at an upcoming announcement on the state’s mask mandate as COVID-19 metrics in Illinois continue to improve.
The state’s case average has continued to drop overall since around mid-January, data from IDPH shows.
Hospitalizations and new admissions for COVID-19-like-illness have also continued to drop throughout January.
In November, Pritzker said he would keep the mandate in place until there was a further decline in hospitalizations.
Pritzker repeatedly said that data shows the state is “heading in the right direction” and he believes “we should remove masks as soon as we possibly can.”