A Message from IEA President Kathi Griffin

Welcome to the 2021-22 school year. It’s definitely not the start of the year any of us had looked forward to or had planned for. After ending last school year mostly learning in-person, lower case numbers, a vaccine readily available and gaining the ability over the summer to go maskless, the start of this year was looking bright.

While we are so happy that students are walking through the doors of our buildings this year, COVID-19 has not gone away. We know the best place for students to be is in the classroom, as long as it’s safe. We know you care about your students and you want them there, too. So, we are working hard to keep conditions where students can learn and where they, and all those around them, can remain safe and healthy. This isn’t about politics, it’s about safety.

That’s why we have supported the Executive Order on vaccinations and testing. Of course, we encourage members to get vaccinated because it’s the best safety measure, but we also recognize that members value their freedom and their right to privacy. That’s why we pushed to have testing be an option, to protect a person’s right not to get one. And when things were moving too fast, we, along with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, pushed to slow them down. On Friday, it was announced that instead of the deadline being Sept. 5 to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result, that date has been moved to Sept. 19. We recommend that if you are not fully vaccinated by that date, be prepared to get tested on your own and show up to work on Mon., Sept. 20 with a negative COVID test in hand.

We understand it’s been a stressful start to the school year. We want to help. Please reach out, whether it be to your local president, your UniServ Director or to IEA Connect. We will continue to advocate for you.

Thank you for all your hard work and patience. We are working to make sure you are safe, that students are safe and that your job and rights are protected.

Please take care and be well.