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*** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker expands vax/test mandate to workers at licensed day care centers

Friday, Oct 22, 2021

* Press release…

To prevent further spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and safety of Illinois’ youngest residents, Governor JB Pritzker joined Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou, and Department of Childhood and Family Services Director Marc Smith today to announce new vaccination or weekly testing requirements for individuals who work in licensed day care centers.

Over 55,000 daycare center staff statewide will now be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they have not done so already. Employees in these settings who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least once per week. Increased testing frequency may be required in certain situations.

“Vaccinations offer life-saving protection for the people who receive them and make the community safer for the people who can’t – including the babies, toddlers, and young children not yet eligible for the vaccine,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “By extending vaccine-or-test requirements to those who work at licensed day care centers, we are adding another level of protection for our youngest residents and preventing outbreaks in daycare centers as more and more parents return to work.”

To ensure Illinois youth who are not currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are protected, all licensed daycare center staff in Illinois will be required to receive their first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine by December 3, 2021, and the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series by January 3, 2022. Any daycare center staff members who are not fully vaccinated by December 3, 2021, will have to do, at a minimum, weekly COVID-19 testing until they are fully vaccinated.

Licensed daycare centers are child care facilities licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The centers are operated outside an individual’s home and regularly provide child care for groups of children ages 0-12. There are 2,872 licensed day care centers in Illinois.

“For continued, ongoing protection of our youth not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, this Executive Order is the best way to protect the lives of thousands of Illinoisans,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Scientific and medical experts have reviewed the data and found the COVID-19 vaccine will avoid serious illness, hospitalization, and even death.”

“Thanks to Governor Pritzker’s leadership, the requirement for vaccination will help our daycare workers who are the woven fabrics of our communities across the state put their health first and best protect children,” said Grace B. Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services. “Our goals are simple. We want to keep our youth protected from COVID-19 in every way possible.”

“Parents and families across Illinois trust daycare staff with the health and safety of their young children every day. Vaccinated daycare workers offer another level of protections and an increased level of comfort for parents and caregivers whose infants and toddlers are not yet eligible for the vaccine,” said Marc D. Smith, Director, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

These requirements build on the Pritzker Administration’s existing vaccination or regular testing requirements for all Pre-K-12 teachers and staff; all higher education personnel; all higher education students; and healthcare workers in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care facilities, and physician offices, which were announced on August 26th, 2021.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted communities across the state, especially communities of color, over the last year and a half. I commend Governor Pritzker for his ongoing commitment to protecting the health and safety of all Illinois residents,” said Senator Paciones-Zayas (D-Chicago). “This Executive Order will keep our youngest constituents safe while ensuring our critical daycare center staff are protected as well.”

    “The COVID- 19 pandemic has disproportionately affected vulnerable populations and communities of color. As such, Illinois Action for Children & many of our partner organizations who provide child care services have already mandated the vaccine for our staff. We welcome this mandate from the Governor as we do all we can to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and prioritize the health and safety of our staff and the families we serve,” said April Janney, President and CEO of Illinois Action for Children.

    “As child care providers and staff, we have to do what we can to protect families’ children. Parents want to know their children are safe in our care. We also want to protect the financial security of our staff, and of our center, and the vaccine can help us do that to get to a healthier, more stable future,” said Dr. Jill Andrews, Founder & Administrator, Kiddie Kollege of Fairfield.

    “The COVID-19 vaccine helps protect our early childhood workforce,” said Marcy Mendenhall, President & CEO, SAL Family and Community Services. “I applaud Governor Pritzker for his ongoing commitment to protecting the health and safety of all Illinois residents, especially our youngest Illinoisans.”

    “Child care teachers and providers aren’t just protecting themselves with the vaccine, they’re protecting others, including the children they care for. Many of us get flu shots every year, and we should do the same for the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Brenda Crisp, Executive Director, Uni Pres Kindercottage. “Let’s get vaccinated, or get tested, so that we can protect ourselves, the children we care for, and our futures.”

    “As leaders in the community, we have a responsibility to keep ourselves, the children we care for and our community safe,” said Dara Munson, President & CEO of Family Focus. “We continue to fight COVID-19 – and vaccination is the best step to do just that. I am always inspired by our caregivers and this is a moment to demonstrate that the health and safety of everyone, especially our youth, comes first.”

On August 4th, 2021, Governor Pritzker announced vaccinations would be required for all state employees who work in the state’s congregate facilities, including individuals at the Illinois Departments of Human Services (IDHS), Corrections (IDOC), Veterans Affairs (IDVA) and Juvenile Justice (IDJJ).

A masking requirement for all Pre-K-12 schools and childcare facilities, including indoor P-12 recreation, has been in effect in Illinois since August 4, 2021.

To slow the spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, all Illinois residents over the age of two have been required to wear a mask in all indoor settings since August 30, 2021 regardless of vaccination status.

Vaccination is the key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that from June through September 2021, approximately 90,000 COVID-19 deaths among adults may have been prevented if they had received the vaccine. All Illinois residents 12 years old and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost and proof of immigration status is not required to receive the vaccine. To find a vaccination center near you, go to vaccines.gov.

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

State Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro), State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris), State Senator Sally Turner (R-Beason) and State Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) issued the following statement following the mandate:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for families across the state, but women in the workforce have been especially impacted by this unprecedented health crisis. We witnessed countless parents struggling to find affordable and reliable child care for their children. And it was working mothers who were hit hardest, as they juggled their careers and child care during unpreceded circumstances.

“The reality is the most recent mandate is an attack on working mothers as they resume a more normal work schedule. Governor Pritzker’s action has the potential to exacerbate an already growing child care crisis in our state. It’s a shortsighted act that will diminish the already limited and sparse availability of child care to families in Illinois.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - Commisar Gritty - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 1:14 pm:

    Every other country in the world: Duh
    U.S.: ThIs Is TyRaNnY!


  2. - Magic Dragon - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 1:36 pm:

    Again, what is the holdup in doing the same thing for all state workers under the Gov’s authority? No reason they shouldn’t be back in the office working.


  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 1:40 pm:

    === No reason they shouldn’t be back in the office working===

    I’ve worked from home since 1993. You say that’s not working?


  4. - Rusty Shackleford - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 1:55 pm:

    ===No reason they shouldn’t be back in the office working.===

    Do people think State workers aren’t back in the office? Because many of us definitely are and have been for some time now.


  5. - Big Balloons - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 2:08 pm:

    People already have a hard time finding daycare. This is only going to make it worse.


  6. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 2:09 pm:

    “Do people think State workers aren’t back in the office? Because many of us definitely are and have been for some time now.”

    All the Boomer middle manager types who haven’t been doing s**t but passing spreadsheets around for 20 years want to be able to see you working or they’ll think it’s not happening. They also want to keep paying for commercial leases the state doesn’t need apparently.


  7. - Jibba - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 2:14 pm:

    ===This is only going to make it worse.===

    Bet it won’t. Most day care workers earn little and can spare none, so they will fall in line.


  8. - Club J - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 2:15 pm:

    Clue up Facebook Live for another Tom DeVore episode about the tyranny from the Governor. I’m sure DeVore’s head is exploding about now.

    It will be time for another sabbatical. Or a strategy meeting how he can get daycare providers to start gofundme pages for the low price of $5500.

    DeVore is the Ron Popeil of Attorney’s.


  9. - Rusty Shackleford - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 2:17 pm:

    ===They also want to keep paying for commercial leases the state doesn’t need apparently.===

    Yep. The overpriced lease for our building was renewed this year. Some of us stupidly thought the State would use this as an opportunity to downsize space, but alas.


  10. - Alice - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 2:33 pm:

    Rusty-
    You downtown Chicago or outside? I thought CMS was seriously reducing downtown leases, just curious.


  11. - wildcat12 - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 2:34 pm:

    As someone with a child in daycare, I am immensely relieved. This was long overdue.


  12. - Rusty Shackleford - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 2:39 pm:

    Alice - I’m in Springfield, though our Chicago office just got an upgraded space as well due to the sale of the Thompson Center.


  13. - skutt - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 3:36 pm:

    ====No reason they shouldn’t be back in the office working====
    Lots of state workers are back in the office, I work in a building with a bunch of them (not a state worker).


  14. - Shield - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 4:30 pm:

    ==*** UPDATE *** Press release…==

    The politicians in the release all voted against the minimum wage increase in 2019, which primarily helps working mothers. In that sense, they would know an attack on working moms, because they have been leading the charge.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 4:30 pm:

    So the State Senators want to have unvaccinated child care around unvaccinated children?

    That’s an odd take.

    “Give working mothers the option to leave their unvaccinated kids with the unvaccinated”

    Oh boy.


  16. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 22, 21 @ 4:42 pm:

    =The reality is the most recent mandate is an attack on working mothers as they resume a more normal work schedule.=

    Huh? Serious question for these Senators. How do they feel about public health rules in general? Are they opposed to efforts to protect public health in general, or just in this instance. And if it’s just limited to Covid, why?


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