Edwardsville School District sued over masks; distance learning possible

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Edwardsville District No. 7 sent a letter to families yesterday advising them of its name in two lawsuits regarding masks, exclusions and COVID mitigation strategies.

The superintendent’s letter says there could be a decision from a judge later this week and it could possibly end with kids doing remote learning.

The letter says a lawsuit has been filed by parents across the state against 145 school districts and the state of Illinois over the mask mandate and the requirement that districts exclude close contacts from school.

The second lawsuit was filed by staff members across the state against 21 districts and the state of Illinois over the testing mandate for staff and the requirement that staff wear masks in schools.

The superintendent says both lawsuits sought class certification, meaning the judge could choose to apply the outcome of the case to all students and staff in the district.

The district is working to put plans in place to respond based on the results. The superintendent says the district may need to pivot quickly in response to the decision.

He says the district’s goal is to ensure students can learn in person and to provide a safe and healthy environment for all staff and students.

The superintendent says it’s possible the judge will determine that schools cannot mandate the use of masks at school for students and staff. Masking is one of the district’s current mitigation strategies.

The letter says that while COVID numbers are trending down in the district, Madison County has a 22% positivity rate.

The superintendent says that if the health and safety of our students and staff cannot be guaranteed due to the high number of positive cases, the district may need to implement a district-wide adaptive break and switch to distance learning.

The superintendent says he hopes that’s not the scenario, but it’s a possibility.

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