File Photo – Grayslake Central High School | Photo: Google Street View

Grayslake School District 127 is now mask-optional after in-person classes at Grayslake North and Grayslake Central high schools were canceled Wednesday due to planned protests of the district’s mask mandate.

The district on Tuesday sent an email to parents saying that both Grayslake Central High School and Grayslake North High School would switch to eLearning for Wednesday.

The district said they were made aware that protests had been organized for both schools on Wednesday.

On Monday and Tuesday, students at Vernon Hills High School and Libertyville High School walked out of school in protest of their district’s decision to continue requiring masks following last week’s court ruling.

“Let me be clear: We support students’ right to protest, and we have no reason to believe students would have engaged in any destructive or illegal activity,” Grayslake District 127 Superintendent Mikkel Storaasli said.

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“However, we know how volatile the masking issue is and I want to ensure a safe environment for students and staff. Tomorrow, February 9 will be an eLearning day. Staff will report to the buildings, but students should stay home,” Storaasli said.

“In addition, I am calling for an eLearning day because we simply need to pause. There has been a lot thrown at all of us in less than a week, and we need a moment as an organization to process,” he added.

Storaasli said district staff has “worked tirelessly under the most challenging conditions, implementing every additional mitigation and procedure without complaint.”

“They deserve time to process what may be another challenging shift. Please remember that we have staff members with serious illnesses who are legitimately concerned for their health. We also have students and their family members with serious medical conditions. For this reason, I ask for the community’s patience,” Storaasli said.

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He said that school administration would “confer as a group, update procedures and prepare our buildings as necessary.”

The district sent a follow-up email to parents Wednesday afternoon and announced they would make masks optional for students at both schools.

However, teachers and other staff are still required to wear masks, the district said.