BRIMFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — Students in the Brimfield school district will be required to wear masks to class after all.
After a five-hour meeting Wednesday night, the Brimfield School Board voted 4-2 for universal masking in schools. The decision came after a three-hour public comment session at Brimfield High School, giving a split group of parents and students a chance to voice their concerns.
Previously, the board made the decision to defy Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s executive order mandating all schools in the state to require universal masking for students.
Some parents agreed with the previous decision and said it upheld the parents’ right to choose what they say is best for their children. One parent, Jared Schlipf, said everyone can agree they should have the freedom to choose what’s best for their kids.
“We’ve heard from so many people tonight, their kids have unique situations,” Schlipf said. “What these guys did on the board that night is they voted to give you a choice.”
Others addressed their concern over health consequences and legalities if they forgo the masks. Parent Terri Kirkland said she is worried about the school losing accreditation, putting kids’ educational futures at risk.
“My son does not deserve this, and when I say my son has worked all summer, that is not an exaggeration,” Kirkland said. “It is not a problem for him, I will transfer him.”
The board ultimately decided to require One board member, Steve Updyke, said they decided it was in the best interest of the students to abide by the order.
“Our goal, obviously, is to keep these kids in front of their teachers, we don’t want any of these kids to lose anything this year,” Updyke said. “The fact that some of the athletes could lose games or seasons, again, after what they went through the last year and a half, weighs heavily on all of us.”
Updyke said if after 45 days the state mandate is lifted, they will ease up on masking policy.
Students must wear masks starting Monday, Aug. 23.
More information can be found on Brimfield Community Unit School District 309’s website.