Executive order requires vaccination for daycare center employees

147
Governor JB Pritzker delivers a COVID update in January of 2021.
Click to play an audio version of this article —
Information provided by the Governor’s Office

CHICAGO, Ill. (October 23, 2021) – Governor JB Pritzker recently announced an executive order that requires 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.”

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 26, 2021.

“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.

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 nearby vaccination center, go to vaccines.gov.