Illinois Mask Mandate to End on February 28

By Lynn McDonald

It has been two years since the coronavirus first hit the United States, and most people are weary of the stress, fear, and worry the pandemic has caused in their lives. In Illinois, strict guidelines and government mandates have been lauded by some and criticized by others.  The past two months saw the omicron variant raging through our community, but now it seems to finally be falling away, so much so that Governor Pritzker has decided to relax his mandates.

NBC Chicago reports that the mandate will be lifted by February 28.   “My intention is as we’ve seen these numbers peak at about 7,400 hospitalizations, and heading downward significantly – we’re now I think under 2,500 hospitalizations, so that’s almost a third of where we were at the peak and heading even further downward – to lift the mask mandate in the indoor locations by Feb. 28.”

While the lifting of the mask mandate applies to most indoor areas across the state, Governor Pritzker says that K-12 schools are not included.  “And that… of course, we still have the sensitive locations of K-12 schools, where we have lots of people who are, you know, joined together in smaller spaces, thousands of people interacting in one location at a time. And so that’s something that will come weeks hence. But very importantly, things are getting better across the state of Illinois.”

As far as Lewis and Clark Community College is concerned, wearing masks will be optional after February 28.  In an email to students, Vice President of Student Affairs, Katie Adams stated that, while masking will be optional, the college will continue to require coronavirus vaccination or weekly covid testing, per the governor’s orders.

She also cautioned students and staff to show kindness and acceptance to others and respect the fact that everyone has a right to choose whether to mask or not.  “We understand there are mixed feelings around making masks optional on campus, and we are confident in our campus culture in supporting everyone’s decision related to the need for masks for personal protection ongoing. Our campus community has been fully masked since the Governor’s Executive Order went into effect on August 30, 2021, and we are pleased that our campus community has abided by this mandate with care and compassion for everyone on campus. We are confident this same care and understanding will continue beginning February 28, 2022 when masks will become optional once again.”


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