CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Fully vaccinated Illinois teachers will receive paid sick leave if they or their child has to quarantine due to a COVID-19 exposure, according to a new initiative.

Unvaccinated employees who have already used their allotted sick time would not be eligible for paid leave, under the new rule.

Gov. JB Pritzker, the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers announced the plan to proote vaccinations on Monday.

“Vaccines are a vital tool in preventing the deadly effects of COVID-19, and those who take the steps to be fully vaccinated against this virus are doing their part to keep everyone safe,” Pritzker said. “They deserve to be able to take the time they need to respond to the ongoing devastating impacts the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on them and their families. This collaborative initiative will provide paid administrative leave for education employees who, despite doing all they can to keep themselves and their communities safe, continue to have their lives and livelihoods disrupted by COVID-19.” 

This legislation provides important relief and ensures that education personnel can afford to take time off if they or they families become ill with COVID,” said Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery.

This joint initiative provides the following protections for educators, school employees, and their families:

  • Paid administrative leave for every employee of a public school district established under Article 10 or Article 34 of the School Code, public university, and public community college who is
    • fully vaccinated or has received the required doses to become fully vaccinated within five weeks of the effective date of the Act and who
    • is required, or whose child is required, to be excluded from school because of a positive COVID-19 test result or close contact with a person who had a confirmed case of COVID-19.
    • has been required by the school or school district policy to be excluded from school district property due to COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Restoration of sick leave for every employee of a public school district, public university, and public community college who 
    • is fully vaccinated or has received the required doses to become fully vaccinated within five weeks of the effective date of the Act, and
    • who has previously used their sick time because they or their child were required to be excluded from school because of a positive COVID-19 test result or close contact with a person who had a confirmed case of COVID-19
    • has been required by the school or school district policy to be excluded from school district property due to COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Maintains wage protections in HB 2778 for all hourly school employees, including but not limited to, custodial, transportation, food service providers, classroom assistants, or administrative staff. This protection applies for the entire 2021-22 school year, including any days that a school has already closed or switched to e-learning which caused the paraprofessional to go without pay or take their own earned paid time off.