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2800 North Highland Avenue
Arlington Heights, Illinois 60004

Phone: 847-670-3200

CCSD21.org


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Community Consolidated School District 21 serves nearly 7,000 students in 13 schools across 6 communities in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Poe Elementary School serves students through 5th grade. School starts at 9:00 AM and ends at 3:30 PM daily.

Important Notice to Families - Information on Mandatory Masking and other COVID Mitigations Feb. 6, 2022

February 6, 2022

Topic: Updates

Dear CCSD 21 Families,

Late on Friday afternoon Judge Raylene Grischow in downstate Sangamon County issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) in the lawsuit Austin v. {Gov.} Pritzker.  This lawsuit was filed seeking to overturn the Governor’s mandatory mask mandate and several rules developed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) regarding the exclusion of students identified as close contacts to someone testing positive for COVID-19, and mandatory COVID testing of all non-vaccinated employees.  The lawsuit also names 145 school districts across the state as co-defendants.  CCSD21 is not one of the school districts named in the suit although several local districts including THSD 214 and Arlington Heights District 25 have been.  

As CCSD 21 is not a party to this lawsuit and after receiving advice from legal counsel, our district will continue to implement the Governor’s Executive Orders on mandatory masking in schools, the Federal order requiring masking on school buses,  the IDPH and ISBE rules on exclusion of close contacts who are not eligible for our Test to Stay program, and continued COVID testing of non-vaccinated employees.  

It is important to recognize that any legal process is a complex one that takes time to fully resolve.  The TRO issued on Friday is the ruling of one Circuit Court that will be appealed to the Appellate Court and/or Illinois Supreme Court and won’t be fully resolved until they rule.

The issues being argued in this lawsuit, particularly mandatory masking, evoke deeply held emotions, feelings, and beliefs from all sides.  No one can deny that this has been a controversial and stressful subject for schools, families, and communities.
Throughout it all, CCSD 21 has followed the recommendations of public health officials and the law to provide as healthy and safe a learning and working environment as possible.  

There are no shortage of viewpoints both complementary and critical of the steps we have taken since the beginning of the pandemic.  Ultimately, I believe we can all agree that we want our children to be in school learning and growing.  While the legal process unfolds and given that CCSD 21 is not a part of this lawsuit, I respectfully request that all parents continue to send their children to school wearing their mask as they have done since the return to in-person learning during the 2020-2021 school year. While not ideal, our students have day after day shown their ability to attend school while masked.

We will continue to monitor developments as the week progresses including any additional legal analysis or direction that may impact districts not part of the lawsuit.  

Above all we will continue to treat all of our students, families, and communities with kindness, understanding, and empathy.  I thank you for continuing to show kindness and understanding to our faculty, staff, and school leaders who are doing the best they can do under uncertain and difficult conditions and I appreciate your patience as this legal process continues.  

With Respect,

Dr. Michael Connolly
Superintendent of Schools