CARMI, Ill. (WEHT)– The Illinois State Board of Education claims 21 school districts are not in compliance with an Illinois state-wide mask mandate, which includes Wayne and Edwards counties. They are now placed under probation.
State representative Adam Niemerg spoke with Eyewitness News and said “At this particular point in time there’s no precedent, there is nothing the ISBE can point to saying this has happened before in communicable disease and we are going to pull recognition and funding for your non-compliance with an executive order.”
Now, they’ll have to undergo a process to get back on track.
“A hearing will be scheduled from the ISBE. Following that hearing, a school will have sixty days to send in a new plan to the ISBE and the ISBE will get back in 15 days,” Niemerg said.
If not, schools could lose recognition status. That means losing funding and being banned from sports. School diplomas from these districts might not be acknowledged by the state.
Niemerg said this goes against the idea of local control.
“I’m a firm believer in local control. I’m a firm believer that school districts control their own destiny in doing what’s right for their children- not any executive orders,” Niemerg said.
But not every school district faces such sanctions. Eyewitness News went out to Carmi to speak with parents. Administrators and parents confirm the school district is following the mask mandate. Parents weighed in on how they feel about the situation regarding schools not complying with the mandate.
“If it’s going to keep the kids safe, I don’t see what a mask hurts to wear. I don’t like that they have to but it’s about the kids being safe,” parent Julie Marvin said.
“You know I don’t see what the big problem is. I know a lot of people complain about free rights and stuff but still I think it boils down to everybody’s safety and health and trying to get through all of this as fast as we can,” parent Brian Duckworth said.
Eyewitness News has reached out to Edwards and Wayne City counties school districts, as well as the ISBE, and have yet to hear back.