Illinois daycare staff required to be vaccinated or submit weekly testing

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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CARTERVILLE, Ill. (KFVS) - A new mandate in Illinois impacts the thousands of people relying on daycares to watch their children.

Daycare staff will need to be vaccinated or submit weekly testing.

This comes after Friday’s message from Governor JB Pritzker who said, “vaccinations offer life-saving protection for the people who receive them and make the community safer for the people who can’t.”

“Oh no, here’s more on top of what we’ve already gone through for child care center,” said Lee Eklund, director of Malones Early Learning Center.

Those were the initial thoughts from Eklund when he heard the news about Governor Pritzker’s mandate.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued an executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all staff members who work in daycares in the state.

“We’ve actually had a couple people put in their notice since they’ve heard that this is coming down the pipe in the next couple of months. And you know they haven’t really given a definite reason but I’m thinking that’s part of it,” said Eklund.

The order applies to more than 55,000 daycare staffers in Illinois.

Workers are required to take their first shot by December 3, 2021 and the second dose by January 3, 2022.

If they choose not to be vaccinated, they must be tested weekly.

Illinois State Senator Terri Bryant is among GOP members critical of the mandates.

“Voluntary vaccines fine, I’m vaccinated, my husbands vaccinated, we’ll make sure people can get vaccines if they want. But mandates I’m totally opposed too,” said Bryant.

Bryant called it another setback for downstate daycares.

“In southern Illinois, we are going to be in a world of hurt right trying to find daycare workers and folks to take care of our children,” said Bryant.

Eklund said staff participated in a recent on site vaccine clinic.

“I did myself and one of my employees got their second shot and a couple of my employees got their first shot,” said Eklund.

Currently, masks are still required in all Pre-K through 12 schools and childcare facilities.

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