The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement Friday evening after a Sangamon County judge put a temporary restraining order on masking requirements in schools and other public places:

You may have read late Friday that a downstate Illinois judge ruled to suspend mask mandates. The Illinois attorney general is working with the governor to immediately appeal this decision, which undercuts the safety of our members, students, families and communities.

This ruling also states that collectively bargained agreements are still enforceable. Our January 2022 agreement with Chicago Public Schools, which guarantees masking, will keep schools open and safe.

CTU members made real sacrifices in January to bargain for an enforceable safety agreement with Mayor Lightfoot’s CPS team, and today that agreement guarantees masking and other critical protections that will allow us to protect our school communities.

While responsible school districts and community groups prepare to challenge this decision on appeal, we expect the mayor and CPS to act responsibly and uphold our agreement to require masks — providing KN95 masks for every adult and child in our schools. This is what the overwhelming majority of Chicago parents and families support.

We should not have to fight every inch for basic protection, but such are the times in which we live, where the few can trump the safety of the many. So we will continue to fight for the right to recovery for all of our students and school communities.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at