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Gov. Pritzker reinstates indoor mask mandate, announces vaccine requirement for educators

All healthcare workers, including nursing home employees, all pre-k-12 teachers and staff, as well as higher education personnel and students will now be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Gov. Pritzker reinstates mask mandate
Gov. Pritzker reinstates mask mandate(WIFR)
Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 10:37 AM CDT
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CHICAGO, Ill. (WIFR) - With increased hospitalization rates and infection rates of COVID-19 increasing, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced he will reinstate an indoor mask mandate starting Monday, Aug. 30 and is requiring vaccines for individuals in high risk settings.

All healthcare workers, including nursing home employees, all pre-k-12 teachers and staff, as well as higher education personnel and students will now be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  Employees in all of these 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, and DPH and ISBE may require increased testing in certain situations.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Southern Illinois communities has the lowest vaccination rate in the state at 44% and only 3% of ICU beds are available. Any individuals required to get the vaccine must get the first dose or a single-dose vaccine no later than Sept, 5 and the second dose must be received 30 days after the first dose.

“The quick spread of this disease in Illinois and across the country is holding us all back from the post-pandemic life we so desperately want to embrace, and it’s harming the most vulnerable among us,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “We are running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds. Vaccination remains our strongest tool to protect ourselves and our loved ones, to restore post-pandemic life to our communities, and most crucially, to maintain our healthcare system’s ability to care for anyone who walks through their doors in need of help – and Illinois is taking action to keep our communities safe.”

Starting Monday, Aug. 30, all individuals will be required to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. In addition, pre-K-12 teachers and staff, nursing home employees and other higher education personnel, including students, will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who are unable to get vaccinated must get tested for COVID-19 at least once a week.

Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery and Illinois Education Association (IEA) President Kathi Griffin issued the following statement regarding the vaccination mandate:

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our unions have worked hard to protect students, teachers, staff, and communities by calling for safe working conditions and health mitigations to help stop the spread of COVID. We know the best place for students to learn is in classrooms made safe through public health strategies that work. With the Delta variant surging, case numbers in Illinois on the rise and more children now getting sick, the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) and the Illinois Education Association (IEA) support Governor Pritzker’s vaccine mandate for educators and staff in K-12 and higher education.”

While no masks are required outdoors, officials recommend they be worn in larger outdoor settings like concerts and festivals.

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