The first day of class looked very different after Illinois Governor JB Pritzker sued the Yorkville school over their plans to not require masks as mandated by his executive order for the state’s COVID-19 guidelines.When asked how one parent felt about students wearing masks, Kelly Baumet said, “It bothers me, but Governor Pritzker is the authority of our state.”
The small private Christian academy, which has 260 students from Pre-K through 12th grade spread over two campuses, is complying for now.
The court ruled against them and two other schools following a lawsuit filed Thursday by Governor Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois’ Superintendent of Education.
“We’re not denying the existence of COVID. We’re not saying we’re not living in a pandemic or there isn’t a health crisis,” said Jed Davis, board president at Parkview Christian Academy.
School officials say their initial decision to make face masks optional under their reopening plan continues to be supported by parents and was not born out of politics, but rather a belief that their safety protocols made face coverings less than mandatory. They say they’d rather leave the choice to wear masks up to families and teachers.
“Junior high students don’t move to another room, they stay where they are at and the teacher changes,” said Parkview Christian Academy Superintendent Dr. Ray Epperson.
Supt. Epperson added that the school has already added to its 100,000 square feet of space, as well as installed acrylic room dividers and desks shields in classrooms.
He also said that in addition to following social distancing guidelines, temperature checks, hand sanitizing and disinfecting fogging machines also help make the school community safe.
“I’m okay either way to wear masks or not. It’s just good to be back in school,” said Matt Devorka, whose student attends the school.
School officials say they plan on fighting the temporary restraining order in court, but until then, teachers, students and staff will continue to wear face masks.
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