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Governor’s Executive Order Imposes Vaccination/Testing Mandate for School Personnel

8/31/21 UPDATE: Today, ISBE pushed out its weekly message that included, among other things, a promise that emergency rules and updated guidance on the vaccine mandate would be forthcoming, and a brief “clarification” of the mandate. Here is the relevant excerpt:

In the coming days, ISBE will promulgate emergency rules and update our joint guidance and FAQ with the Illinois Department of Public Health to support implementation of the order. I do want to clarify one point now: the Executive Order requires all school personnel, as defined in the E.O., to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to at least weekly testing. The Executive Order permits school districts to implement stricter requirements locally, such as requiring vaccination without broadly offering a testing alternative, but all school personnel with a medical contraindication or religious exemption must undergo at least weekly testing. 


Today, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order No. 87 (2021-20), which requires “school personnel” in P-12 schools to (a) have received, at a minimum, the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine by September 5 and (b) be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within 30 days* after the first dose. School personnel who demonstrate an exemption for medical or religious reasons are excused from the vaccination requirement, but then must submit to testing. Effective September 5, school personnel may not enter school premises or work at a school unless they either are fully vaccinated or submit to at least weekly COVID-19 testing.  

The definition of “school personnel,” “fully vaccinated,” the rules for establishing proof of vaccination status, the COVID-19 testing protocols, and a description of the medical and religious exemptions are included in the Executive Order. 

ISBE has said it will be issuing emergency rules regarding the implementation of the Executive Order, and ISBE and IDPH will update their joint guidance and FAQ. We will continue to monitor for those to be posted.

As a reminder, today’s Executive Order also includes a new statewide indoor mask requirement, effective Monday, August 30. This requirement applies to all, regardless of vaccination status.

The Executive Order is applicable to nonpublic and public schools alike, including charter schools. The Executive Order also includes requirements concerning higher education and certain other health care and congregate settings.

For questions concerning your school’s implementation of this Executive Order, please contact your Labor/Personnel counsel.


*Depending on the vaccine, it may not be possible to be “fully vaccinated” within 30 days of the first dose, so perhaps clarification will be forthcoming.