An FAQ in response to the Executive Order requiring vaccination or testing may be found here.
This morning, Governor Pritzker announced a vaccine mandate for educators and school staff in Illinois. UFEA issued the following statement in response.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been committed to doing whatever we could to protect and prioritize the health and safety of staff, students, and our communities. That’s why so many of our members were voluntarily vaccinated as soon as they could be, and that’s why we’ve done whatever we could to get staff and students in classrooms and schools safely, through effective public health strategies, for in-person teaching and learning.
We also know our healthcare workers are overwhelmed in so many places right now after working tirelessly for the past 18 months to care for our community. We want to do what we can — including wearing masks and getting vaccinated — to support them.
With the Delta variant surging, case numbers in McLean County on the rise and more children being exposed and getting sick, the Unit Five Education Association (UFEA) supports Governor Pritzker’s vaccine mandate for educators and staff in our schools. We know widespread education and access to vaccines will be essential in this public health effort, and we are glad to see that a weekly testing option is available for those who cannot, or will not, get vaccinated.
We’re committed to working with Unit 5 to determine how we will implement the mandate locally, and what other safety policies and protocols we will have in place to ensure our members’ interests, health and safety are addressed as these policies are applied.
As educators, we understand the vital role we play in providing accurate, science-based information about COVID and vaccinations to combat myths and misinformation. Here is the truth: Vaccines work. Vaccines are safe. And vaccines save lives. The action taken today by Gov. Pritzker is what we need so our school year can continue in person. It’s the best course of action for the education of the students we teach and care for every day.
Earlier today, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery and Illinois Education Association (IEA) President Kathi Griffin issued a joint statement, which can be found at ieanea.org.