Dear District 86 Families and Staff, 

During its special meeting on Feb. 18, the District 86 Board of Education approved a motion to update the district’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies so that masking, close contact exclusions and testing exclusions will shift from required to strongly recommended, but not enforced, starting on Feb. 21. The board also directed the administration to continue consulting with the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) on the district’s mitigations. 

The update to these strategies will apply to all District 86 students, employees and visitors, as well as to all on-site events and activities such as athletic competitions, fine arts performances and meetings (e.g., board, committee, PTO, etc.). All other existing mitigation strategies (e.g., physical distancing, ventilation, cleaning, etc.) will remain unchanged. 

The board’s decision was based on the updated guidance published by DCHD on Feb. 14, our local metrics, and the ruling by the Illinois appellate court on Feb. 17 to dismiss the state’s appeal of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by a judge in Sangamon County on Feb. 4. In its ruling, the court determined that the TRO would remain in place and the state would be enjoined from ordering districts to require universal masking. It also stated that “the language of the TRO in no way restrains school districts from acting independently from the executive orders or the IDPH in creating provisions addressing COVID-19.” 

We realize that the decision by the appellate court may create further trepidation or concerns for those in our community who still support universal masking and believe it is the best approach for keeping people healthy and safe. With this in mind, we will continue to maintain our COVID-19 dashboard so that our stakeholders have access to data and metrics they can use to make informed decisions about their specific health needs.

We understand that Governor Pritzker has requested that the Illinois Supreme Court complete an expedited review of the ruling. We will continue to monitor the court case, as well as the other legal and legislative aspects of this situation, and keep you apprised of any updates or new developments.

As we transition to this revised approach for managing the spread of COVID-19 in our district and community, we ask everyone to please honor and respect the choices people make about masking. We also hope that the decision our board has made on this divisive topic will begin to bring people back together in support of the important work we all do on a daily basis to help our students down the path toward their ideal future. 

Terri Walker
Board President
Tammy Prentiss