Pritzker mandates day care center workers get COVID-19 vaccine or get tested

Pritzker mandates day care center workers get COVID-19 vaccine or get tested

The list of workers Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is demanding get vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 has grown to include licensed day care centers. Pritzker’s mandate affects 55,000 workers.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Oct. 22 added 55,000 state-licensed day care center workers to the list of those he is mandating either get the COVID-19 vaccine or get tested at least weekly.

“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,” Pritzker said. “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.”

Pritzker already mandated the vaccine or test requirement for state workers who deal with veterans’ homes, group homes, state prisons and other settings in which people are grouped in living quarters. Union pushback led him to delay his vaccination demand date to Nov. 30 from Oct. 4.

All licensed day care 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 Dec. 3 and the second dose by Jan. 3. Unvaccinated staff starting Dec. 3 will face a minimum once-a-week test, but Pritzker said added testing “may be required in certain situations.” He didn’t offer specifics about when extra tests would be required.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services licenses 2,872 day care centers in the state, which are centers operated outside an individual’s home.

Others facing vaccine or test mandates include all pre-K-12 teachers and staff, all higher education personnel and students, health care workers in hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care facilities and physician offices. He also mandated masks in schools and day cares in August, along with a statewide indoor mask mandate for which he has not offered an end date other than saying he hoped it could be lifted by the holidays.

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