Gov. Pritzker announces school mask mandate, vaccine mandate for some state employees

CHICAGO — Citing rising COVID-19 numbers and the Delta variant, Governor Pritzker announced that Illinois schools will be required to have masks and some state employees must become vaccinated.

“I had hoped that a state mask requirement in schools wouldn’t be necessary, but it is,” Gov. Pritzker said.

Illinois is aligning with the CDC after the agency recommended that all students, teachers and staff wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status.

While making the announcement, the governor condemned districts who have not required masks yet and applauded districts that have.

“First far too few school districts have chosen to follow the CDC,” Gov. Pritzker said.

The mask mandate extends to indoor sports for athletes.

Governor Pritzker also announced Wednesday that all employees at state-operated congregate living facilities will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 4.

The state is informing the unions representing these employees of its intention to move forward with this requirement, which covers employees at the Departments of Human Services, Veterans’ Affairs, Corrections and Juvenile Justice working in congregate facilities.

Chicago Public Schools announced last month that the district will require masks for both students and staff next month for the start of the school year.javascript:false

Citing feedback from public health experts and the recent guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, masks will be required for all, regardless of vaccination status, except for when eating and drinking.

Read more Chicago news headlines here.

Additionally, three feet of social distancing will be required “whenever possible.” Some students will be eating their meals in classrooms, while others will eat in the cafeteria.