File Photo – Fremont Middle School in unincorporated Mundelein | Photo: Google Street View

All four schools in Fremont District 79 in Mundelein are switching to remote learning until further notice due to planned protests over the district’s mask requirement.

Fremont School District 79 said in a letter to parents on Sunday that they received multiple reports of protests and demonstrations that are planned to take place on Monday.

“These protests include intentions to confront and/or interact directly with students. These protests would create a substantial disruption to the learning environment and would negatively impact our ability to deliver education to our students,” the district said in the letter.

The district’s four schools — Fremont Elementary School, Fremont Intermediate School, Fremont Middle School and Lincoln Early Learning Center — will be taking an “adaptive pause” and switch to full remote learning beginning Monday.

Remote learning will remain until further notice.

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“This past week has certainly been challenging for school districts. The impact of the recent temporary ruling for those who were named and not named in the mask/mitigations lawsuit has been hotly debated,” the letter said.

“While we all anticipated an expedited ruling already that may have provided a higher level of clarity, that has not happened and it now appears that the matter may be litigated for a longer period of time,” the letter said.

In a 30-page ruling on February 4, Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow “deemed null and void” the governor’s emergency rules through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) concerning COVID-19 mitigations for schools.

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.

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Multiple schools in Lake County announced they were switching to a mask-optional policy following the ruling.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said his administration has appealed the ruling.

Fremont School District 79, which kept its mask requirement in place, said they anticipate the appellate court ruling by Thursday.

Fremont District 79 noted in their Sunday letter that Pritzker will be lifting his indoor mask mandate on February 28 and he has hinted at lifting the school mask mandate sometime after that.

“All of this said, we must continue to make student learning and safety our primary focus. We need to do this in partnership with parents. We ask for your partnership in ensuring that our schools remain welcoming and safe environments for all students to learn regardless of personal masking viewpoints. Our schools cannot become battle grounds for differing adult opinions,” the school district said.

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