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IFT Statement on Executive Order Lifting Mask Mandate in Schools

Westmont, IL – Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued this statement following Governor Pritzker's executive order lifting required masking in schools:

“We are grateful for Governor Pritzker’s leadership throughout the pandemic ensuring that science, not politics, has informed guidance. It has been a long two years, but there is finally light at the end of the COVID tunnel. 

“We welcome this new guidance for a safe off-ramp from universal masking in schools. The CDC’s new guidelines set us on a path to a new normal in schools. By using an analysis of hospitalizations in addition to community transmission, school districts, in collaboration with educators, staff, and families, can decide when to ease mask requirements. 

“Our sole priority since the start of this pandemic has been to protect students, teachers and staff, and their families by following the proper mitigations. Schools have remained open because of the implementation and enforcement of these mitigation strategies designed to protect everyone. 

“We urge school districts to prioritize the most vulnerable, including our Black and Brown communities, as well as the immunocompromised, in all off-ramping decisions. They continue to be at a higher risk of exposure, illness, and death. 

“We insist that school districts statewide work with their unions to maintain or come to agreements that will promote health and safety in schools and follow our laws around safe schools and workplaces. 

“Finally, we ask everyone not to stigmatize students, teachers, and staff for their individual masking choices. And no one should be pressured into unmasking. These last two years have taught us that we must protect each other and that we all have a duty to protect our most vulnerable populations.”


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