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WILMETTE, Ill. (WLS) — A group of Wilmette District 39 parents spoke out against mask mandates in schools while protesting in front of the village hall Monday morning.

About 30 to 40 people showed up hoping to send a message to the school board. They want their kids to have a choice to wear a mask or not.

A few people also came out to oppose the protesters.

“We want to give parents the choice to choose what’s right for their families at this time,” said Chris Beer, Wilmette protest organizer.

RELATED: Illinois school mask mandate ruling forces districts to decide whether or not to make masks optional

“A lot of us were on board early on to deal with the pandemic, but we are approaching two years and we just really think that it is time to get with the times,” said Beth Feeley, Wilmette District 39 parent.

Over a week ago, a downstate judge issued a temporary restraining order against Governor JB Pritzker’s mask mandate. That is being appealed.

In the meantime, protests across the city and suburbs have fired up, along with heated school board meetings over how to move forward.

Monday morning, a small group of District 39 parents showed in opposition to the protest. They are in favor of keeping masks in school for now.

“I know that our administrators and our board want an off ramp. They have communicated that in endless emails,” said Kim Buckley, District 39 parent. “I want a logical, health-based offramp to come out of masks, to get back to life normal.”

Meanwhile, students in Fremont School District 79 in Lake County, Illinois moved to remote learning starting Monday until further notice.

Administrators there said protestors had been planning to confront students.

In Lockport Township High School District 205, masks will be optional starting Monday. Lockport Township High School Superintendent Bob McBride warned parents to keep students home if they are sick.

“If our health conditions change, under our board’s plan, we might have to bring masks back to be responsive to that,” Superintendent McBride said.

Naperville District 203 also went mask optional starting Monday, but not on school buses.

Meanwhile, Wilmette 4th grader Grace Williams said she is ready to ditch her face covering.

“I would like to see my friends smile, cause like a lot of this has made a lot of people sad,” Williams said.

As for protests in Wilmette, an online petition has gathered more than 500 signatures.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Source: ABC7

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