Can schools force students to wear masks? Illinois lawsuit challenges COVID-19 policy

·2 min read

A parent is challenging an Illinois school district’s policy that requires students to wear face masks and undergo temperature checks when classes resume.

An attorney for Roni Quinn, the mother of a fourth-grade student and opponent of COVID-19 shutdowns, filed a lawsuit against Quincy Public Schools a day after the district announced new rules for its planned reopening in August.

The requirement will cause Quinn and her child to “suffer irreparable damage” because the rules infringe on their rights to an in-person education without unlawful mandates, according to the lawsuit obtained by nonprofit news site Edgar County Watchdog.

Superintendent Roy Webb told McClatchy News declined to comment, saying the school district has not received the lawsuit.

On Wednesday, the school district announced plans for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents have the option to enroll students for online remote learning or in-person classes during the first part of the school year. At school, students will be required to wear face coverings, unless exempt by a doctor’s note, and undergo daily temperature checks.

The district cited school reopening recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state health department and others.

“I know you are tired of the virus, with the inconvenience, with decisions and with me,” Webb said in the announcement. “The experts tell me there is risk. The experts tell me that in-person is needed for children. We will do the best we can. I appreciate your patience and communication.”

Quincy Public Schools are located in Adams County, Illinois, a community along the Mississippi River bordering Missouri.

Quinn leads the Facebook group Re-Open Adams County, Illinois, which has more than 7,700 members and protests the “tyranny” of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Her attorney is Tom DeVore, a lawyer challenging other coronavirus orders issued by the state’s governor, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

The lawsuit argues the school district overstepped its authority by issuing a mandate that was not passed by state lawmakers.

In a Facebook post, Quinn says the lawsuit isn’t a “jab” at the Quincy school superintendent and applauded him for “doing the best he can with what he has” in a difficult situation.

“This is about our Children’s Right to an education and allowing decisions such as these to be left to the Parents NOT our Government/Local Officials,” Quinn posted. “If you want to send your child to school in a mask, by all means you have that right. As it stands right now, NO ONE has the right to choose to send their child to school without a mask. That is NOT ok. These rights belong to the Parents.”

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