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Parents Barge Through Doors At North Suburban School Board Meeting, Chaos At Districts Around Illinois After Ruling Halting Mask Mandate

NILES, Ill. (CBS) -- Mass masked chaos – we've seen the scenes play out all across the state, as school districts have been scrambling to figure out how to handle the situation after a judge issued an order halting Gov. JB Pritzker's school mask mandate.

It has been a free-for-all, with each school district coming up with its own answers. At one school board meeting at Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 Monday night, it was an insane scene as parents barged through the doors from an overflow area.

Some chanted and clapped, "unmask our children." Others complained that people were making a "scene" with no masks on themselves.

Late Monday evening, the school board vote ended in a tie, meaning masks are still required for now.

The vote was far from imminent as of 10 p.m. – given that the meeting had already been going on for three hours by then with parents still addressing the board.

"It's hard on students - the changes, back and forth, back and forth," one parent told the board.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, some parents Monday night were pressuring Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 leaders to unmask their kids after Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow put a temporary restraining order on the governor's mask mandate late last week.

Over the Fox River, the heavy weight of the mask debate played out in Geneva Community Unit School District 304 – where parents protested for masks to come off their kids. Late Monday night, the district said masking is now optional.

In the Barrington 220 School District, Monika Casey's daughter, Alyssa, walked into class at Barrington High School Monday without a mask. Masking is now optional, but still recommended.

"Today is really an emotional day for us," Casey said.

Barrington was included in the lawsuit that led to Judge Grischow's order.

"It certainly has taken a toll on our children," Casey said.

Judy Benson lives in Deerfield, and her kids attend school in Deerfield Public Schools District 109 and Township High School District 113.

"Basically, we are just looking for choice," she said.

Her kids' districts were not part of the lawsuit, but she believes mask mandates don't belong in the classroom.

"My hope was that the school districts that are not named would still do the right thing and offer parents a choice," Benson said.

But Holly Erdman's son, Riley, is immunocompromised – and he depends on his classmates and teachers to wear a mask.

"If we had a typical family without an immunocompromised child, things may be different," Erdman said.

While Kaneland Community School District 302 in Kane County still requires masks, Erdman worries the policy isn't being enforced - leaving her with some tough choices.

De Mar: "What does tomorrow look like for you?"

Erdman: "I have no idea what to do."

Judge Grischow issued a temporary restraining order on Friday that halted the mask mandate, following the lawsuit from parents in districts around the state.

The office of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has already filed an appeal of the temporary restraining order issued by Judge Grischow, and has filed a request for an emergency stay on the judge's ruling -- meaning the ruling is in limbo.

Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday called the judge's ruling blocking enforcement of the state's school mask mandate at scores of districts "out of step with the vast majority of legal analysis in Illinois and across the nation."

The following list reflects school policies in the Chicago area as of Monday night: 

MASKS REQUIRED

  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Naperville Community School District 203
  • East Aurora District 131
  • Elgin Area School District U46
  • Indian Prairie School District 204
  • Community High School District 128
  • Township High School District 113
  • Lansing District 158
  • Palatine District 15
  • Park Ridge-Niles School District 64

MASKS OPTIONAL OR RECOMMENDED

  • Plainfield Schools District 202
  • Lake Forest Districts 67 & 115
  • Barrington District 220
  • Hillsboro School District 3
  • Huntley District 158
  • Lombard Elementary District 44
  • Arlington Heights District 25
  • Joliet Diocese Schools

CLASSES CANCELED, MASKS NOW OPTIONAL

  • Geneva District 304

REMOTE LEARNING, MASKS NOW OPTIONAL

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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