Illinois schools lift mask mandate for vaccinated individuals for fall


Daily file illustration by Hank Yang

The mandate comes amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

Jacob Fulton, Summer Editor

Vaccinated students and teachers will not be required to wear masks in Illinois school buildings this fall, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday.

The decision was based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was released on Friday. The IDPH adopted the new CDC guidelines in full.

The guidelines come after a May decision by the Illinois State Board of Education to reopen schools across the state. The new restrictions require masks for all non-vaccinated individuals over the age of 2 and cut down social distancing requirements from six feet to three feet. 

Since many students in school districts are under the age of 12 and therefore currently ineligible for vaccination, the IDPH emphasized the importance of continued preventative measures, such as masking, social distancing and consistent COVID-19 tests.

“Our goal is to protect the health of students, teachers, and staff so that in-person learning can resume as safely as possible,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in the Friday IDPH news release. “The CDC is right: vaccination is the best preventive strategy. As school board members, parents, teachers and superintendents plan for a return to in-person learning in the fall, we strongly encourage those who are not vaccinated to continue to mask.” 

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