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Parents sue Metro East school district over mask mandate

Parents sue Metro East school district over mask mandate

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TROY, Ill. — A group of parents is suing a Metro East school district over its mask mandate, asking a judge to allow their children to attend school without a mask.

An attorney filed the suit on behalf of three parents who have nine children enrolled in Triad Community Unit School District 2, which imposed a mask mandate after Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a coronavirus executive order over the summer requiring universal masking in Illinois schools.

The parents’ lawsuit asks a Madison County judge to approve temporary restraining orders that would allow their children to attend school without a mask, at least in the short term.

Their attorney, Tom DeVore, argues in the complaint that Illinois county health departments have the right to issue quarantine orders, but school districts do not. He also argues there is no health regulation to require asymptomatic students to wear masks, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people infected with the COVID-19 virus may be asymptomatic but still able to spread the virus to others.

Stephanie Jones, an attorney for district Superintendent Leigh Lewis, said in a statement that the district plans to fight the lawsuit. She said such suits “only serve to punish school districts for following the state’s health and safety guidance.”

“The lawsuits cost taxpayer dollars that districts could be spending on providing a safe and healthy environment for students to learn,” Jones added.

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