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Daily Journal
     February 2, 2022      #65-33 KDJ

Bourbonnais School Board sets meeting to discuss

Daily Journal Staff Report

BOURBONNAIS — The Bourbonnais School Board will hold a special meeting to revisit a tabled item on a mask-optional policy at 7 p.m. Thursday in the District 53 administration building, 281 W. John Casey Road.

During last week’s meeting, the board had tentatively scheduled a special meeting for Monday, depending on the timing of verdict in a class-action lawsuit currently being considered by a Sangamon County Circuit Court judge.

Circuit Judge Raylene Grischow heard oral arguments last week and is considering a motion to block Illinois schools from requiring people to wear face masks in classes and excluding students and staff from school buildings if they have had close contact with a positive COVID-19 case.

The board planned to meet Monday if a verdict had been reached by the end of last week. Since no verdict has been reached as of Monday, the board will meet Thursday.

A total of 145 Illinois school boards are named in the suit, including three locally, though Bourbonnais Elementary was not one of them.

Kankakee County school boards named in the suit include St. Anne Grade School, Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School, and Herscher.

The suit was filed last year by Greenville attorney Thomas DeVore, who has unsuccessfully challenged the state’s COVID-19 mitigation measures in several other lawsuits.

On the agenda for Thursday’s meeting is reconsideration of the tabled motion for a mask-optional policy.

Board President Jayne Raef made the motion, which reads, “Whereas the BESD53 Board of Education has carefully considered the social/emotional and educational impact of face masking during these past two school years, and has consulted with the Bourbonnais Education Association on the issue of face masking for our students, I make a motion for BESD53 to follow the guidance provided by [the CDC] which recommends face mask coverings in schools rather than requiring face masks — with the only exceptions being that BESD53 will comply with the federal guidelines for requiring face masks for transportation as well as any face masking requirements of the IESA.”

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