Vaccinated educators and school staff are now entitled to COVID-specific sick days, and if they were to quarantine or stay home with a quarantined child during the 2021-22 school year, their previously used disease will be restored.
The new requirements are outlined in House Bill 1167, which Governor JB Pritzker signed into law on Tuesday. The legislation affects more than 800 school districts statewide.
HB 1167 requires school districts, public universities, and community colleges to pay educational support staff and contractors during any school closures and provides paid administrative leave for employees vaccinated for purposes related to COVID-19.
The legislation takes effect immediately.
“We want to make sure our school children see the least amount of disruption to their in-person learning due to the public health crisis,” Pritzker said in a press release. “The bill that I enacted [Tuesday] delivers on that promise by ensuring that if a teacher has done their part to keep their classroom safe for their most vulnerable students, they won’t have to worry for a second about their salary or paid vacation if COVID- 19 affects his livelihood. ”
The legislation maintains wage protections for all hourly school employees, including but not limited to custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, classroom assistants, or administrative staff.
The protection applies to the entire 2021-22 school year, including any days a school has already closed or switched to online learning, resulting in the paraprofessional not being paid or to take their own paid holidays.
“Our state is in the midst of a growing shortage of teachers and education employees,” Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association, said in a press release. “We currently have thousands of open positions in public education. We must do everything we can to attract young people to the profession and also show those who have chosen education as their life’s profession that they are respected.
“Offering COVID administrative days and paycheck protection to hourly employees is one way to do that,” Griffin continued. “Household Bill 1167 would bring much-needed relief to our teachers and support staff who have worked diligently to not only provide quality education to students, but also to keep their students, their schools safe. and their communities over the past two years.”