As you are likely aware, on Friday evening an Illinois judge ruled on a lawsuit filed by more than 700 parents across the state that challenged state-mandated COVID-19 mitigations. This resulted in a flurry of communications across the state regarding what happens next and how it impacts school districts on Monday morning, knowing there are likely to be legal challenges ahead. After reviewing the judge’s decision with our attorneys, I wanted to send a message today regarding how this decision impacts Manhattan 114 staff and students as our path forward becomes clearer.
Effective Friday, February 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm, Judge Grischow entered a temporary restraining order (TRO) that voids the Governor’s executive orders and rulemaking by ISBE and IDPH on the following issues:
Mandatory masks in schools;
Mandatory exclusion from in-person learning if identified as a close contact; and,
Mandatory weekly COVID testing for unvaccinated school personnel.
Beginning Monday, February 7, 2022, face masks will become optional and will no longer be mandatory for students in the Manhattan School District 114. Furthermore, staff and students considered to be a close contact of a COVID positive case will no longer need to quarantine, and lastly, the school district will no longer be required to conduct mandated testing for unvaccinated staff.
While I anticipate there will be appeals at the state level, it is my hope there will be no further changes to our in-person learning for the remainder of this school year and beyond. It will continue to be very important for individuals that become ill, both staff and students, to remain home until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours before returning to school, regardless if it is the typical seasonal flu or COVID.
- Wearing a face mask is optional. Face masks are allowed but no longer mandated.
- Masks on public transportation is a federal mandate and not State of IL. Therefore, LW210 Transportation must still require masking on buses.
Anyone who was directed to quarantine as a close contact is eligible to return on Monday, February 7th.
Mandated COVID testing is available by request to staff, but is no longer required.
Anyone that is ill must be fever/symptom-free for 24 hours, without medication, before returning to school.
Thank you for your continued patience and support. I look forward to working forward with our amazing community as we move forward together.
Mr. Rusty Ragon, Superintendent