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CPS Keeps Its Mask Mandate In Place As Battle Over State’s Rule Continues

"These safety measures are what have allowed us to provide our students with the in-person learning environment they need throughout this school year," CPS said Friday.

8th grade students enter Richardson Middle School as 6th thru 8th graders return to in-person learning in the West Lawn neighborhood on March 8, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools will continue to require masks at its schools as a legal battle over the statewide school mask mandate heads to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The state had long required all people, including students and faculty, to wear masks at schools. But a downstate judge issued a ruling earlier this month where he declared the state’s requirement that people wear masks in schools “null and void,” effectively overturning the mandate. It was then up to individual school districts to decide what COVID-19 safety mitigations they’d implement.

That led to various schools in the Chicago area and across the state allowing people to come to school without masks, though CPS continued its own mask mandate.

Pritzker’s administration lost an attempt to keep the rule in place with a Thursday ruling, and the case is now headed to the Illinois Supreme Court.

CPS still plans to keep its own mask mandate, officials said Friday.

“Our schools will continue to enforce these policies, including mandated universal masking,” a CPS spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “These safety measures are what have allowed us to provide our students with the in-person learning environment they need throughout this school year.

“We will continue to follow these protocols until such time as our public health partners advise us that restrictions can be safely lifted.”

Here are the city’s goals for ending its mandates and where Chicago stands with each:

• Cases: Chicago must report an average of 199 cases or fewer per day. It’s reporting an average of 374.

• Positivity rate: Chicago’s positivity rate must be at 4.9 percent or lower. It’s at 1.8 percent.

• Hospital beds: Chicago must have an average of 249 or fewer beds occupied by COVID-19 patients per day. It’s reporting an average of 278 per day.

 ICU beds: Chicago must have an average of 99 or fewer ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients per day. It’s reporting an average of 102 per day.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 8 million people — or 63.36 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 20,003 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 20,971,401 vaccine doses of the 23,686,025 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.8 million Chicagoans — or 68.4 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 76.3 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

Everyone 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.

The numbers:

• Since Thursday, 50 Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19.

• At least 32,299 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 4,061 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 3,184 cases since Thursday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 3,013,709.

• Since Thursday, 153,512 tests were reported statewide. In all, 53,621,982 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 2.4 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 2.5 percent Thursday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 3.1 percent. It was at 3.3 percent Thursday.

• As of Thursday night, 303 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 132 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, 15 deaths were reported since Thursday. There have been at least 7,163 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of five people dying per day, down 62 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has had 404 confirmed cases reported since Thursday. It’s had a total of 554,830 confirmed cases. An average of 374 confirmed cases are being reported per day, down 31 percent from a week ago.

• Testing in Chicago is up 5 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 1.8 percent, down from 2.7 percent a week ago.

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