Harmon on mask mandate: ‘When we follow medical science, we make progress against this pandemic’ – Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) is saluting Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
“When we follow medical science, we make progress against this pandemic,” Harmon said in a post to Facebook. “I applaud the governor for continuing to follow the science to protect the people of Illinois.”
Pritzker has come under fire from Republican lawmakers over his approach to handling the crisis, including his recent decision to impose a statewide mask mandate for all public and private school students.
In flexing his executive muscle, the governor’s edict also stipulates that all state employees working at congregate settings, such as long-term care facilities or veterans’ homes, must be vaccinated by Oct. 4 and that all teachers and staff members from preschool through 12th grade wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
“The governor’s continued unilateral, go-it-alone approach on pandemic decision-making actively undermines the state’s ability to have broadly accepted mitigation strategies,” said Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich).
State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) is even more blunt in voicing his assessment, openly wondering if the governor even has the legal authority to be enacting the kinds of policies he is.
“It violates constitutional checks and balances, public input, and local control,” he said in a statement. “Our local school districts are closest to parents, students, and educators and are capable of deciding what is best for their respective communities.”
Pritzker remains unfazed, defending his actions by stressing that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy for Pediatrics also stand in favor of universal masking.
He argues he had little choice in imposing a mandate given the number of school districts openly ignoring the CDC’s recommendations.
“My goal has always been to safely bring all kids back into the classroom and, crucially, keep them there,” he said. “Without these measures, we will likely see many more outbreaks.”
Harmon on mask mandate: ‘When we follow medical science, we make progress against this pandemic’