U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
covid delta

All school staff in Illinois--from pre-K to higher education--must get Covid vaccination, governor says

Aug. 26, 2021
Gov. J.B. Pritzger imposes vaccine requirement as the Covid Delta variant has led to increasing hospitalizations among younger people and the unvaccinated.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced that all educators from kindergarten through college, as well as all higher education students, must receive a Covid-19 vaccination.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Pritzker also is imposing a statewide mandate requiring the masking of people age 2 and above in indoor locations.

Educators who do not take the vaccine effective Sept. 5 will be required to undergo testing.

Pritzker’s vaccine mandate affects all pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and staff, as well as higher education personnel and eligible students. Employees in those settings and higher education students who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested for Covid-19 at least once per week.

Earlier this month, Pritzker had ordered a masking mandate for students, faculty and staff in early childhood learning centers and elementary and high schools and said schools and districts that did not comply faced sanctions, including the possible loss of state funding and participation in Illinois High School Association athletics.

Officials for the state’s largest public teachers’ unions — the Illinois Education Association, which represents primarily suburban school districts, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, whose ranks include the Chicago Teachers Union — embraced Pritzker’s new mandate.

“The surge of Covid-19 cases in our state reminds us that this vaccine mandate is a public health imperative," the unions said. "To implement it properly, widespread education and access to vaccines will be essential. For members who cannot, or will not, get vaccinated, we are glad to see the governor has implemented weekly Covid testing."

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