Governor JB Pritzker said Wednesday that three new steps were being taken to combat the spread of the highly contagious delta variant in the state of Illinois.
According to Gov. Pritzker, the first step mandates the wearing of masks in all pre-kindergarten through 12-grade schools and daycares throughout the state.
"Due to the CDC's strong recommendation, I had hoped that a state mask requirement in schools wouldn't be necessary, but it is," Gov. Pritzker said. "Effective immediately, all P-12 schools and daycares in Illinois must follow the CDC guidance of universal masking inside, regardless of vaccine status."
According to Gov. Pritzker, the mask requirement will also apply to inside sports, but not outside.
"We’re doing this for a few key reasons: lower rates of vaccination among teens aged 12 to 17, the vaccine has not yet been approved for children under 12, and because of the reluctance of some districts to adopt the CDC’s guidance," Gov. Pritzker said.
In addition to the statewide mask mandate for schools, Gov. Pritzker said that the COVID-19 vaccine would now be required for all state employees at congregate facilities by Oct. 4.
That vaccine mandate covers employees at the Departments of Human Services, Veterans’ Affairs, Corrections, and Juvenile Justice working in congregate facilities.
Finally, Gov. Pritzker said the state would also requiring universal masking in private long-term care facilities and strongly encourages owners of private facilities to join the state in adopting vaccination requirements.
You can view the full announcement on the governor's Facebook page.