Governor Pritzker announces COVID-19 sick leave initiative for vaccinated school personnel

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) – Governor Pritzker, the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and other stakeholders announced that they have negotiated a compromise that will keep students and teachers safe. in the classroom without penalizing vaccinated employees for taking COVID-required sick leave.

“Vaccines are an essential tool in preventing the deadly effects of COVID-19, and those who take the steps to be fully immunized against this virus are doing their part to keep everyone safe,” Governor JB Pritzker said. “They deserve to be able to take the time they need to respond to the devastating effects the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on them and their families. This collaborative initiative will provide paid administrative leave to education workers who, despite doing all they can to keep themselves and their communities safe, continue to have their lives and livelihoods disrupted by the COVID-19.

“Keeping schools open and the safety of those in them — and their families — has been our number one priority since the pandemic began,” said Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association. “We want people to stay home when they are sick, to be able to care for their children when they need it most and to be paid when the circumstances that lead to the closure of their buildings escape totally in their control. This bill protects school and university employees and all those they teach, drive to school, feed and care for in so many ways.

This joint initiative provides the following protections for educators, school employees and their families:

  • Administrative leave with pay for any employee of a public school district established under section 10 or section 34 of the school code, a public university and a public community college who is
    • fully vaccinated or has received the doses required to be fully vaccinated within five weeks of the date of coming into force of the Act and who
    • must, or whose child is required, to be excluded from school because of a positive COVID-19 test result or close contact with someone who has had a confirmed case of COVID-19.
    • has been required by school or school district policy to be excluded from school district property due to symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Reinstatement of sick leave for each employee of a public school district, public university, and public community college who
    • is fully vaccinated or has received the doses required to be fully vaccinated within five weeks of the effective date of the Act, and
    • who has ever used their sick time because they or their child had to be expelled from school due to a positive COVID-19 test result or close contact with someone who had a case confirmed of COVID-19
    • has been required by school or school district policy to be excluded from school district property due to symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Maintains wage protections in HB 2778 for all hourly school employees, including but not limited to custodial, transportation, food service providers, classroom assistants, or administrative staff. This protection applies to the entire 2021-22 school year, including any days a school has already closed or moved to online learning, resulting in the paraprofessional not being paid or taking their own paid holidays.

As a result of this collaboration, the Governor vetoes House Bill 2778.

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