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Edwardsville and Triad teachers file COVID vaccine complaint

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Eleven educators have filed a lawsuit against Edwardsville CUSD 7 and Triad CUSD 2 over statewide COVID vaccination, testing and masking mandates for school employees.

They do so without the support of the education unions of the Triad.

The Illinois Education Association represents the Edwardsville and Triad teachers’ unions. The Edwardsville union has not released any statements through the IEA.

Both districts have formally implemented mitigation measures consistent with executive orders issued by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. They demand that teachers and school staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly tests and that all who enter school buildings, including students, must wear a cover-up. face.

The teachers’ lawsuit argues that such mandates lie with local health departments, not school boards.

Members of the Triad Education Association and the Triad Education Support Personnel Association packed the school board meeting at Triad High School on Monday evening, dressed in red shirts. The presidents of both unions spoke out in favor of the safety mitigation measures the school district implemented and walked away from the employee complaint.

Four police officers and sheriff’s assistants stood at the gates of the meeting. No incident required their intervention.

“As an organization, TEA is a strong advocate for safety and science,†said TEA President Andrew Frey. “But like all organizations, we have individual members who have different opinions, to which they are entitled. However, they do not speak for us as a whole and they do not represent the majority of our members.

“To be here tonight, to have the chance to represent the majority of TEA members to speak out on behalf of the health and safety of the students and the staff who care so deeply about them, is the whole point of belonging. to a union.

Safety mitigation measures at Triad and Edwardsville, including warrants for masks and vaccinations or testing, are standard practices for most school districts in Illinois this year.

Three parents in the district also filed a complaint against Triad District 2 over the mask requirement.

Both lawsuits were filed by Bond County attorney Tom DeVore, who has a prolific list of cases dating back more than a year related to executive orders made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In both lawsuits, DeVore argues in the complaints that the measures – masking in the case of students and employees and compulsory vaccination or testing in the case of staff – are not to be implemented by school districts, but by the county health department.

Quite simply, the District of Edwardsville and the District of the Triad infringe the legitimate right of the educators of the Triad and of Edwardsville to be free to choose for themselves the health and safety measures they deem appropriate. , in the absence of their consent or an order of this honorable court. on the contrary, as required by Illinois law, â€the complaint filed in the States of Madison County.

The two school boards met on Monday evening, with several parents and community members discussing both COVID mitigation measures. They were divided in their opinions.

Jamey Hartley, one of the triad parents seeking a restraining order for his children in the district, said they were past the stage where what parents or school officials had to say about the warrants mattered – it’s up to the courts to decide.

“I will accept whatever result is,” he told the board. “I hope you will do the same. “

A hearing for the parents’ trial is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Madison County Circuit Court.

Temporary restraining orders have already been issued on behalf of parents or guardians represented by DeVore at Carlyle CUSD 1 in Clinton County, North Mac CUSD 34 in Macoupin County, Quincy Public School Schools 172 in Adams County and Hillsboro Community School District 3 in Montgomery County.

These students are not required to wear a mask on school property for the duration of their injunction.

Between September 18 and Friday, 23 students tested positive for COVID-19, including 10 from college, according to the Triad COVID-19 dashboard. During the same period, two staff members tested positive. There are 3,929 students in the district, according to the Illinois Report Card.

Between September 13 and September 20, Edwardsville reported 23 positive cases out of 7,343 students.

School districts that report COVID cases and exclusions themselves through COVID dashboards differ in how often they are updated and the data points they track.

A hearing for the trial of the Edwardsville and Triad educators has not yet been scheduled, according to the court record.

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This story was originally published September 28, 2021 10:47 a.m.

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