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Masks recommendations, requirements coming to Central Illinois

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EAST PEORIA (WEEK) -- In areas with high and substantial rates of COVID-19 transmission, the CDC says everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should mask up indoors.

In Central Illinois, the agency lists McLean, Tazewell, Mason, Stark, and Fulton counties as areas that need to wear masks. Governor JB Pritzker was at an unrelated event when the new guidance was handed down on Tuesday.

"There's no doubt that will weigh heavily on decisions I will make about what we should do for the state of Illinois," said Pritzker.

In Peoria County, the transmission level is at moderate, one step away from substantial. Because of that, the CDC is not recommending masking for everyone, yet. However, the county's largest school district will require masks in the Fall.

"We will begin the school year requiring that masks be worn by all individuals," said Superintendent Dr. Sharon Kherat during the Peoria Public Schools board meeting on Monday.

Many parents were happy about the news.

"I think it was the best decision, I don't think there was a way to differentiate who was vaccinated and who wasn't, with staff or students," said Brittany Bush.

"Until COVID rates in our area are going down, I'd like to see kids keep masking and keeping each other safe," said Amber Pawula-Marcin.

Others were disappointed with the decision, one parent writing on Facebook it should be a parent's choice, another saying masks have done nothing to help. First day of school for the district is August 18.

Andy Weber

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