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Masks now optional at Lansing public schools

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (March 1, 2022) – Lansing School Districts 215, 158, and 171 have each announced that face masks are no longer required for students and staff, though still recommended.

The move comes as Governor J.B. Pritzker’s amended executive order — which lumped schools into the mask-optional category — went into effect on February 28.

High School

In a letter to the District 215 community, Superintendent Sophia Jones-Redmond said, “Given the change in the governor’s executive order, the change in CDC guidelines, and the current low transmission status in Cook County and in our school community, School District 215 will be moving to mask optional effective immediately. This includes mask optional on buses. However, masks are still strongly recommended and encouraged.”

Her letter cited low transmission rates in Cook County, as well as board policy, which states the 215 Board will act in accordance with CDC guidelines.

She continued, “Please note that if/when the Cook County COVID-19 transmission rate moves out of the low or medium status, the standing CDC recommendation would then be to return to masking…”

Elementary and middle schools

An alert on the District 158 website said,”Following a recent announcement by Governor J. B. Pritzker, face masks will be optional in all District 158 schools starting Monday, February 28.”

District 158 Superintendent Nathan Schilling told The Lansing Journal, “We are also going to be looking at ways where other COVID-19 mitigations can start to be relaxed and are waiting for further guidance from the state on this.”

The District 171 website said, “Effective Tuesday, March 1st Sunnybrook School District 171 will be mask optional but recommended.”

Superintendent Erika Millhouse-Pettis told The Lansing Journal, “Sunnybrook 171 recommending the continued wearing of masks within the school environment, however the choice is optional.”

Masks optional indoors

On February 28, the indoor mask mandate ended in Illinois. Some freed faces could be seen at Lansing businesses throughout the day. Individual businesses and organizations still have the right to require masks inside their spaces, however.

At this time, masks are still required where federally mandated, on public transit, in health care facilities, in congregate settings, and in long term care facilities.

Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.