Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker issued EO late Friday in response to school quarantine lawsuits
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker issued EO late Friday in response to school quarantine lawsuits

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2021

* Last week

Three children in Effingham County can’t be forced to wear masks without an official quarantine order from the county health department, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The attorney who brought the case anticipates more such cases across the state.

Earlier this month, attorney Thomas DeVore won several cases on behalf of parents of school kids being kept from in-person learning because of possible COVID-19 exposure.

Courts in multiple counties said only county health departments can issue quarantine orders.

* DeVore filed another lawsuit against a school district in Christian County this week. Click here. The Christian County coroner revealed last week that Taylorville High School senior Alexia Garrison died “due to natural causes, with COVID-19 being a contributing factor.” Her parents were told she died of COVID pneumonia.

* The governor responded to these lawsuits on Friday by quietly filing an executive order. Mike Miletich has more

Schools in Illinois should exclude students and staff with confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases or those who come in close contact with sick people, according to a new executive order Gov. JB Pritzker filed late Friday night.

Under this executive order, schools are obligated to exclude students or school personnel with confirmed or probable COVID cases. The order states schools must refuse entry to the premises, extracurricular activities, or any other events organized by the school. […]

“The schools and local health departments are helping to separate people, to quarantine them, to keep them from infecting other people and to give them the opportunity to test and then come back into the institution,” Pritzker said Monday. […]

“I know that there are people that are attempting to challenge these things in court,” Pritzker said. “I would just say that this is a very unhelpful thing to do and it is going to make schools and health care settings less safe.”

* From the governor’s EO

• All Schools must take the following measures to ensure the safety of Students and School Personnel:

    1. Exclude any Student or School Personnel who is a Confirmed Case or Probable Case for a minimum of 10 days following onset date if symptomatic or date of test if asymptomatic, or as otherwise directed by the School’s local health authority.
    2. Exclude any Student or School Personnel who is a Close Contact for a minimum of 14 days or as otherwise directed by the School’s local health authority, which may recommend options such as Exclusion for 10 days or 7 days with a negative test result on day 6. As an alternative to Exclusion, Schools may permit Close Contacts who are asymptomatic to be on the School premises, at extracurricular events, or any other events organized by the School if both the Confirmed Case or Probable Case and the Close Contact were masked for the entire exposure period and provided the Close Contact tests negative on days 1, 3, 5 and 7 following the exposure.
    3. In addition to (b)(i) and(b)(ii), Schools shall Exclude any Student or School Personnel for a minimum of 10 days who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 until they are fever free for 24 hours and until 48 hours after diarrhea or vomiting have ceased.

• All Schools shall make remote instruction available consistent with the requirements declared by the State Superintendent for Education pursuant to Section 10-30 and 34-18.66 of the School Code, 105 ILCS 5/10-30 and 105 ILCS 5/34-18.66, for Students Excluded from in-person instruction pursuant to this Executive Order.

• State agencies, including but not limited to the Illinois Department of Public Health, may promulgate emergency rules as necessary to effectuate this Executive Order and aid in its implementation.

• Nothing in this Executive Order prohibits a local health authority from issuing orders for isolation or quarantine pursuant to the Department of Public Health Act, 20 ILCS 2305/1.1 et seq., and regulations implementing that Act, or requiring schools to take more stringent measures than described in this Executive Order.


Jacksonville School District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says it clarifies orders confusion after court rulings in Macoupin and Adams County on the state’s rules: “The governor and the ISBE definitely have the desire to keep all close contacts out of the physical schools, so in response to the legal challenges about the use of the term ‘quarantine,’ they have altered it with a new executive order to mandate to school districts that we must exclude students from schools who have been determined to be a close contact. We are no longer issuing a quarantine. The health department isn’t issuing a quarantine. We are excluding those individuals from the physical school, and that is mandated and it says we must follow it.”

Ptacek says this circumvents the necessity of a local health department or court order to issue a quarantine order. Ptacek says the district has received a statement from the Illinois State Board of Education that they will enforce the rule based upon further clarification in the Executive Order granting them the authority of enforcement.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - dan l - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 9:45 am:

    But did you guys see all the cars honking?

  2. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 9:47 am:

    If the children can be vaxxed but aren’t, expel them. Let their parents figure out an alternative.

  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 9:49 am:

    Good response.

    At the higher levels it appears the state has a good grasp of the situation and how to properly address it.

    This situation exists only because local health departments are refusing to hold up the responsibilities given to them to protect public health. The schools had to take the actions they did, because the county health departments that should have been doing this have instead deliberately done nothing.

    If county health departments had done the job they were tasked with under state law, this wouldn’t be an issue at all.

    Add another very strong data point as to why county health departments need to be completely reformed. I’d prefer a model more like the secretary of state offices, where they are branches of the state and its authority, instead of what we have now which appears to be local health departments acting like extentions of their local chambers of commerce.

  4. - Stig - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 9:59 am:

    It’s becoming a game of wack-a-mole with these pro-covid court rulings.

    The Hillsboro school district is currently under a TRO to prevent them from requiring masks.,74434

  5. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 10:21 am:

    Public health departments are supposed to be there to make sure restaurant food, public pools, nursing homes, indoor environments, medical services, and many other health related issues are safe for a community. Unfortunately some public health department act more like the mayor in Jaws, more concerned about image/politics when really tough choices need to be made. Our local health department is struggling to keep up due to greatly increased volume, staff shortages, and tight budgets on top of their regular activities. Wear a mask, get the shot, and get this over with.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 11:13 am:

    === Isn’t that for the parents/family’s doctor to decide.===

    Friend, they *are* making a decision.

    “Freedom”, amirite?

    No vax, no school. Pretty simple.

  7. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 11:29 am:

    ==No vax, no school. Pretty simple.==

    And for their vax-resisting state employee parents, no vax, no job. AFSCME 31, amirite?

  8. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 12:19 pm:

    =AFSCME 31, amirite?= body, my choice amirite?

  9. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 12:23 pm:

    T.G. is raking the cash in by the bucketful…while others die…I wonder if he is proud of himself?…seriously.

  10. - WTH - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 12:24 pm:

    From the medical experts on Facebook:
    “The Protect Parents’ Rights team met multiple times with David Allen Welter State Representative on the subject of parents’ rights and THE FACTS regarding various so-called “health care services”.
    In 2020, Rep Welter filed HR762 to urge the US Congress to remove from law the blanket immunity protections given to vaccine makers which following the testimony of Mary Holland and Protect Parents’ Rights’ Executive Director James Holderman at the Illinois Capitol was successfully passed out of the Illinois House Judiciary Committee on a bi-partisan vote.
    On September 17, 2021, Rep Welter once again stands with the parents of Illinois and filed HB4149, “PARENTAL MEDICAL CHOICE ACT.”

  11. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 12:47 pm:

    I support the Governor, but this is a tacit admission that the original EO language was flawed.

    Who signed off on it?

  12. - Manchester - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 1:14 pm:

    Once again, thank you Governor Pritzker for choosing to follow the science and helping children stay safe.

  13. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 2:26 pm:

    This should be extended to park district programs.

    Kids with COVID exposure are showing up for Pee-Wee football.

  14. - H-W - Tuesday, Sep 21, 21 @ 3:36 pm:

    =But did you guys see all the cars honking?=

    You made me laugh out loud.

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