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School Masks, State Worker Vaccinations Required in Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker (Photo: Illinois Central Management Services Bureau of Agency Services)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois’ governor says all students and staff members in schools will be required to wear face coverings effective immediately.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday the action is necessary to thwart the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus. He also said he will require all state employees who work in highly populated facilities such as prisons to be vaccinated.

The required vaccination for state employees applies to those who work in prisons and juvenile detention facilities, veterans’ homes and state facilities for the mentally and developmentally disabled.

Each must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 4.

Our local state representatives and the Republican candidates for governor released statements regarding the governor’s announcement Wednesday.

Rep. Severin Says New Mask Mandates Go Too Far, Demands Local Control

Rep. Windhorst Demands Local Control As Pritzker Announces New COVID-19 Mask Mandate 

Jacobs Reacts to Pritzker’s Newest Mask Mandates for P-12 School Children 

Schimpf Reacts to Pritzker’s Mask Mandate for K-12 Children and Mandatory Vaccination for State Employees

WATERLOO – Paul Schimpf, Republican candidate for Governor of Illinois, issued the following statement in response to Pritzker’s mask mandate for P-12 children and mandatory vaccination order for state workers announced today:

“JB Pritzker’s mandatory vaccination order for state workers is inconsistent with the civil liberties that I spent 24 years on active duty defending.  Furthermore, his P-12 education mask mandate usurps the authority of parents, school board members, and superintendents, further undermining confidence in the rule of law. I vehemently disagree with Governor Pritzker’s action today.”

Republican Senator Darren Bailey Responds to Pritzker’s Latest Unilateral Mandates to Mask Kids in Schools 

LOUISVILLE – State Senator and Republican frontrunner, Darren Bailey, responded to Governor Pritzker’s unilateral mandates to require masks for kids in schools in a press conference and delivered the following message. 

“Governor Pritzker put his personal political agenda in front of what we know to be in the best interests of our students and their education. Pritzker once again wants to force masks on school children. This unilateral move without engaging the legislature does NOT make him a leader. It makes him a failure. The science and data have clearly shown us that school age kids are not statistically vulnerable to critical illness or death from Covid-19, and the Governor has not produced any new evidence to contradict these clear statistics.” Bailey stated. 

Bailey continued, “Data from all over the world has also shown us that schools are not the drivers of community outbreaks-that is a fact. What we are witnessing today is a power grab by the political class. It’s time to stop this nonsense. I will continue standing for freedom and common-sense policies. As parents, your freedom to make the best decision for you and your matters. As students, your education and your mental health matter. After seeing what Governor Pritzker has done to our students, businesses, churches, and people since last year, I know we cannot go down this road again. Friends, we cannot sit back and just let one person who has never stepped foot in most school districts across our state pretend he knows what is best for your kids and our schools. Parents, teachers, and elected school board members should make these decisions at the local level.

I ask this simple question, who is fighting for our kids? They don’t have a powerful special interest group. Who is fighting for their future, their mental health, and their ability to just be a kid and learn? A Bailey Administration will never subject kids to an unscientific mandate that disrupts their education, social well-being and quality of life.The lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats and special interests have had it their way for long enough. It’s time for students and parents to be heard. The interests of the political class do not reflect the best interests of the students and working class.”

Bailey concluded, “I joined this race because regular people, students, and parents have been pushed aside for too long. They need an advocate in Springfield that will put their interests first regardless of the politics. This Governor has failed, and he is now doubling down on poor policy. Kids should never be forced to bear the burden of a failed political agenda. I am confident that parents and local school board members know what’s best for their children’s education. Classrooms should be focused on learning, growing, and teaching our students to be productive members of society, not on whether or not they are wearing a mask without conclusive scientific evidence.”

Republican candidate for governor, Gary Rabine, posted the following statement on his Facebook page Wednesday.

JB Pritzker’s new school mask mandate is an unnecessary abuse of power, and I’m calling on the Governor to allow school boards to make these decisions at the local level.
The efficacy of mask mandates is sketchy at best. In the spring of 2020, a Danish study of 6,000 participants found that those who wore masks were just as likely to get COVID-19 as those who didn’t. Participants in the study were told to spend at least three hours outside their home and to practice social distancing and were then tested for COVID-19. The comprehensive study found no statistical advantage to those who wore masks.
This is about control – not about science. We know that kids are at a low risk for the virus. Our kids had a rough year last year thanks to Governor Pritzker’s policies. We should allow local school boards to work with parents and students to set mask policies at the local level, instead of Pritzker’s one-size-fits-all solution. We need bold leadership, and we need to protect the rights of parents to make decisions for themselves and their children. I stand opposed to Governor Pritzker’s decision to infringe on parental rights.