School vaccine and testing mandate begins this week
This is the first week of Governor Pritzker’s vaccine and testing mandate for educators and school staff. We know that school districts and higher education institutions across the state are working hard to comply. At the same time, we mourn the tragic loss of life of educators, students and their family members and vow to do all we can to keep everyone healthy and places of learning safely open. We are supporting our local unions, councils, and chapters throughout Illinois to ensure that good agreements are in place both to comply with the mandate and to offer our members clarity and security. One challenge, for instance, is the scarcity of COVID tests in certain parts of the state. We remain in close contact with the governor’s office and the Illinois State Board of Education so that we can advocate for your needs and keep you informed. We know this may be a tough week for some members and leaders. Please know that our union is working to ensure your well-being. Keeping everyone in our schools, colleges, universities, and communities safe is our priority. We are talking to the governor’s office and legislature about other steps that we might be able to take to keep communities safe and our jobs more manageable. And we will soon be holding a town hall conversation for all local leaders (stay tuned for more details). Science tells us that vaccines, along with all the other mitigations we know of, are the best way to keep schools open, and soon, even more students will be eligible for vaccination. We all hope that there is a light at the end of this COVID tunnel. But until we get there, we must work with our employers and the state to comply with this legal mandate and assure that our workplaces are safe and healthy. We understand that all this can be adding to your stress at the beginning of the school year, always a stressful time even in the best of years. Rest assured that our union is working to keep your workplace safe and protect our students, families, and communities. As always, thank you for all you do. Stay well.
Visit ift-aft.org/covid for additional learning, vaccination, and health & wellness resources.