Illinois school district plan for new mask requirement; parents have concerns

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says masks will be required for students and staff this fall.

SILVIS, Illinois — School districts in Illinois are planning for fall when students return to class.  When they do, they will be required to wear a mask, according to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker's new guidelines.

Some parents of the Silvis and Hampton School Districts say they don't think students will listen to the requirement.

"My one kid has ADHD, so I know that's not going to work," says Steve Spieker, Hampton School District Parent. "My other kid, he could do it, but he has asthma."

"The mask issue, according to our survey results, that was one that parents are really concerned about," says Terri Vandewiele, Silvis School District Superintendent.

Vandewiele says masks will be one new addition, but since students left back in March, there will be many others. Kids will be six feet apart in the classroom, only fitting about a dozen students.  No lockers will be used to prevent students from congregating. Also, due to new classroom capacities, the district will look into a possible hybrid schedule.

"If we can find time during the day when students are six feet apart and they don't have to have a mask on during the entire school day - that would be ideal," says Vandewiele.

Although masks will be a requirement for public and non-public schools in Illinois, they aren't a requirement for day care centers yet.

Beverly Clark, Aldridge Early Learning Center Director, says while her kids are encouraged to wear masks, most don't. They are licensed by DCFS whose rules only encourage masks on children.

"It will be extremely, extremely difficult to be on mask patrol," says Clark. "Try to encourage a 3 or 4 year-old to keep a mask on.  The mask will be on for a matter of minutes, then it comes off, it will be on the table, it will be on the floor."