SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Thousands of people from across the state are expected to rally in Springfield in opposition to children wearing face masks while in school.
One of organizers of the rally, Michael Rebresh, said he wants his three children to be able to go back to school this fall but without having to wear masks.
"Most of us want our kids to go back into to school, because social interaction is an equal part of growing as a kid," Rebresh said. "I don't like the idea of my kids going to school for five to eight hours a day wearing a mask."
The Illinois Department of Public Health ruled face coverings and social distancing are the goal whenever and wherever possible at school and Rebresh, along with thousands of other parents, have taken to social media to express their concerns.
"An awful lot of the school administrators and school boards have taken what the governor, ISBE and IDPH said ... what is a mandate or guideline ... and they are taking that to mean its law," Rebresh said.
According to Rebresh, a Facebook group was formed for parents to voice their concerns.
"In a Facebook group called Illinois Return to School 2020, folks like myself started having conversations," Rebresh said. "One of our organizers said, maybe we ought to organize a march to express our opinions to the ISBE, the governor and IDPH and so, she did. She started a new Facebook page."
The new Facebook group, called "Million Unmasked March," grew rapidly.
"I think the Facebook page is just over three weeks old," Rebresh said. "Last check this morning, we had well over 7,200 members from all over the state of Illinois."
On Saturday, July 25, thousands of parents are expected to march from the Capitol building to the Illinois State Board of Education building with their children.
"We have a lot of fun arrangements for the kids, who we also expect to attend," Rebresh said. "We have a children's book author, who is coming in to do a reading presentation. We got a balloon animal guy that's coming out, bubbles, and bouncy balls and inflatable costumes."
According to Rebresh, he hopes children will attend the rally with their family because that is who it is all about.
"If anybody from the governor's office, or the State Board of Education is there, hopefully they are going to see the very kids that will be affected by their decisions," Rebresh said.