Hutsonville school board votes 4-3 to require masks; court date set for next Tuesday

Local News

HUTSONVILLE, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) – A local school district named in a lawsuit by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for not mandating masks alters their return plan pending an upcoming court date.

Some leaders with Hutsonville Community Unit School District #1 said they believe decisions regarding return to school plans should be left to local communities.

“What’s going on here, we’ve had 30 cases, no hospitalizations, no deaths in this community,” said Julie Kraemer, Hutsonville CUSD #1 superintendent.

Prior to Thursday, school officials said they did adopt safety measures such as desk shields, hand sanitizing stations and offering an e-learning opportunity.

But the decision whether students should or should not wear a mask was left up to parents.

“We had followed the CDC guidelines and American Association of Pediatrics, basically we feel like at a small school district like this we can get six feet apart and we really tried hard to do that in our classroom,” Kraemer said.

Due to Hutsonville not mandating masks, Pritzker filed a lawsuit against the district along with two others.

During a Thursday meeting of the Hutsonville school board, by a vote of 4-3, the board decided to comply with guidelines from the state.

“We had a lot of discussion and have gotten advice from our attorneys that if we don’t exactly follow the guidelines then our tort immunity disappears and that’s what the major concern was,” Kraemer said.

Kraemer said the school district does have a court date next Tuesday, and their battle over who should make decisions for schools is not over yet.

“We encourage our community to show up at that court date,” she said. “We will continue to try to fight. We’re not just giving up. We’re just going to go ahead and follow those guidelines until we can get there and present our plan.”

Kraemer said under state guidelines, parents will be required to do self health checks on their student each day.

School staff will now also perform temperature checks.

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