Cites Fear of “Delta Variant”, the “Unvaccinated”
August 5, 2021
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered that all children and staff in schools and daycares wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and mandated that state employees in prisons and other congregate facilities be vaccinated.
The order, which was issued on Wednesday and made effective immediately, ensures that essentially all Illinois children – from kindergarten to high school – will be forced to wear masks during school hours, regardless of vaccination status. Coaches and students participating in indoor sports, such as volleyball and basketball, also must be masked.
“As your governor, it’s my duty to say that we must take immediate and urgent action to slow the spread of the Delta variant,” Pritzker said. “People are dying who don’t have to die.” He added that with Covid-19 hospitalizations rising, “we have a limited time to stave off the highest peaks of this surge going into the fall.”
The statewide mandate comes after some Illinois school districts declined to follow guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) calling for compulsory mask-wearing, instead making face coverings optional. The CDC reversed course on mask mandates in schools and other indoor settings last month, noting that even vaccinated people can catch and spread the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19.