SPRINGFIELD – The following is attributed to the President of the Illinois Education Association (IEA) Katie Griffin in relation to the decision of the 4th District Court of Appeal on the Illinois Appeal on a temporary restraining order of Judge Grishaw of February 4, 2022 at Sangamon County COVID trial:
“We appreciate the clarity of last night’s Fourth District Court of Appeals’ ruling dismissing the defendants ’appeal of the Interim Prohibition Order (TRO), which states that the Illinois Department of Health and the State Department of Education have expired and extended the effects of COVID in schools have made their arguments indisputable. There was a lot of confusion about what even meant the initial decision of District Court Judge Reilin Grishov. This seemed to apply only to those districts named in the original lawsuits, of which there would have been about 150. But, according to school administrators, there are now at least 500 masked-recommended districts in Illinois.
“Students crave consistency. But Judge Grishov’s decision of February 4 to impose a TRO in the case has wreaked havoc on schools.
“The bright spot in the decision clarifies for which parties the TRO applies. The Court of Appeals affirmed that “the TRO language in no way restricts school districts from acting independently of orders from the executive or the IDPH when creating regulations to combat COVID-19.”
“The last few weeks have been hectic in state schools. Some have described them as the worst times in the careers of our teachers and educators. They receive angry emails, comfort comforted frightened students, and work to reassure other students dealing with the trauma caused by this pandemic. Schools should be a safe haven for students. This is not something we have seen in many of our schools lately. We know that school board meetings have been canceled and schools have closed due to threats and protests. That should stop.
“Efforts to mitigate the consequences are not political in nature. They are designed to keep students and school staff from getting sick and bringing home loved ones who may be susceptible, COVID-19.
“As the weather gets warmer and hospitalizations continue to decline, we hope school districts will adhere to their duty to negotiate in good faith with local health and safety associations, including mitigation efforts, and remind everyone that any existing collective Negotiation agreements or memoranda of understanding on these issues remain intact.
“We need people to remember that we are all together – parents, community members, teachers and our students. At the end of this long dark tunnel there is a light. We need to come together to find well-thought-out solutions to bring peace to our schools, to provide a better environment for our teachers and staff to provide students with the important learning and emotional support they need. ”
The Illinois Education Association (IEA) with 135,000 members is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 faculty outside the city of Chicago and support staff, faculty and support staff for higher education, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers, across the state.