CHICAGO (CBS) — Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced updated guidelines for schools to reopen safely — unvaccinated teachers and students should continue masking up, while those who are vaccinated can go without.
But as CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Monday night, a growing chorus of administrators and parents are calling on the state to leave the choice up to them — though on Tuesday, the state responded by saying it is already doing just that.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Warmer Temps Return This Week
Still, as recently as Monday, one suburban superintendent reached out to Gov. JB Pritzker, asking him to leave decisions on a safe return to the district.
“At this point, all of a sudden to throw a mask back on – it just seems kind of pointless,” said Peter Demos, who has two kids in Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95. “We’re not giving an option. We’re being told.”
Demos wants his 9- and 12-year-old to return to the classroom without a mask.
So does the district superintendent, who penned a letter to Gov. Pritzker saying in part that putting masks back on is inconsistent with other updated COVID guidelines.
“We’re hoping that the school board and the state would listen to us and just make it a choice,” Demos said.
As the CDC pushes for schools to reopen this fall, the agency released new guidelines saying vaccinated teachers and students no longer need to wear masks inside school buildings. The State of Illinois said it will follow that guidance.READ MORE: With Eviction Moratorium Over, Many Chicagoans In Need Of Rental Assistance Are Still In Limbo
But many schools serve students under 12 years old – the required age to be vaccinated
“It’s time to stop putting controls and government mandates on our children,” Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said in a video.
Pekau recorded the video urging state leaders to stay out of the classroom.
“When will this madness end?” he said. “Let’s let parents consult with their doctors and make the decision they deem best for their children.”
Also Monday, the superintendent of Lake Forest District 115 addressed the governor, saying in part: “As a fellow leader, I understand and respect the pressure and competing interests you are facing. Yet, we both know there is no one-size-fits-all solution for this pandemic.”
“We have to start, you know, letting people make choices for their families, for themselves,” Demos said.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday emphasized that while it advises that masks be worn in school by everyone age 2 and older who has not been fully vaccinated, but the decision actually is up to individual districts.MORE NEWS: Arab Americans in Illinois Will Finally Be Counted When They Get Their Vaccine
Along with masking up, the CDC and now the state are now recommending social distancing of three feet for unvaccinated students and teachers.