In response to the Governor Pritzker’s new mandate that all students, teachers, and staff at pre-kindergarten–12th grade schools wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) released the following statement:
“My district office has been flooded with calls of outrage about this latest mandate. Governor Pritzker is once again not reasonably assessing the data; not following science; and proclaims he has unilateral executive powers that the legislature actually refused to give him. Reflecting the input of our districts, House Republicans voted against HB 2789 precisely because it gave the Governor and IDPH more unprecedented control over how schools operate on this issue. The Senate refused to even consider giving the Governor and IDPH this much power over schools. If the Governor thinks this power is genuinely necessary for public safety, he can call us into special session and justify it with real facts and evidence and in the light of full transparency. Then all of our stakeholders, particularly parents and local school boards, could have a voice in any outcome, and the democratic process of government can work. Instead, Governor Pritzker issued a mandate he knew many regions would find unacceptable, unnecessary, or flat out unworkable, and at his press conference threatened that the path of non-compliance (even with no bad outcomes) means school costs lost to litigation, insurance coverage put at risk, or even school decertification.
It is also quite telling that while Governor Pritzker declares an immediate urgency for schools, he admits he will leisurely negotiate with the special interest unions he is relying on for his re-election campaign. Single-party rule in our state has created a government where regular people don’t count–only insiders do.
Finally, by exempting various groups from his latest round of mask mandates, Governor Pritzker has already shown the state can’t apply a “one size fits all” approach; the same respect should be given to our local schools, parents and students. Decisions must be guided by what the data reflects in individual communities. Discounting the input of parents, students, local government bodies and a wider panel of experts is undemocratic and simply wrongheaded.”