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Gov. Pritzker: Mask mandate for Ill. schools, day cares, long-term care facilities

The new guidelines include requiring some workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Gov. Pritzker announced a mask mandate for Illinois schools.
Gov. Pritzker announced a mask mandate for Illinois schools.((Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP))
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 9:59 AM CDT
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CHICAGO (WIFR) - Ahead of the upcoming school year, Gov. Pritzker announced guidance for all public and private schools in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

#BREAKING: Gov. Pritzker expected to announce mask mandate for Illinois schools.

#BREAKING: Gov. Pritzker expected to announce mask mandate for Illinois schools.

Posted by WIFR TV on Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Masks are required in all P-12 schools and day cares, according to Gov. Pritzker.

Vaccinations are required for all state employees at congregate facilities. Masks are required in all long-term care facilities.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike joined the governor at 2:30 p.m. at the Thompson Center in Chicago to discuss the new guidelines, which included a statewide school mask mandate and requiring some workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I wish we could avoid having COVID interfere with our summer. But the virus and its effects are increasing once again, and the largest group affected who are being hit especially hard are the unvaccinated,” according to the governor. “I’ll continue to listen to the Illinois Department of Public Health and other experts to evaluate any and all necessary action to protect our residents. We’ll get through this as Illinoisans always have come through crises — by working together.”

Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued a statement in response to Governor Pritzker’s mask mandate for schools:

“We continue to be thankful for Governor Pritzker’s steady leadership throughout the pandemic. As school resumes soon in most Illinois districts, we welcome his updated mask mandate. With the large number of unvaccinated individuals and the rapid spread of the highly infectious Delta variant in Illinois, requiring masks in all schools is a prudent course of action. Science tells us that a layered approach will go a long way towards helping keep schools open and students, staff, and communities safe. In addition to mask wearing, we strongly urge all school districts and institutions of higher education to employ additional safety measures, including physical distancing, regular hand washing, adequate building ventilation, and regular COVID testing of students and educators. The sharp increase of COVID-19 cases in our state is a stark reminder that this pandemic is far from over. It is the responsibility of every one of us to do whatever is necessary to keep one another safe and bring this pandemic to an end. Our union takes that responsibility seriously and will continue to fight to help make that happen.”

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