COVID-19 testing eased for unvaccinated school, childcare employees

Patrick Keck
State Journal-Register
Kaiden Kelly, 11, right, of Springfield gets a covid vaccination from Registered Nurse Holly Dahlquist at the Sangamon County Department of Health Thursday July 28, 2022.

Starting Friday, unvaccinated employees in schools and childcare will no longer face twice weekly COVID-19 testing Gov. JB Pritzker announced.

The charge follows updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and comes two months after the governor eased those same requirements for college students and health care workers.

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“Vaccination continues to be the most effective tool we have against COVID-19, and I’m proud that millions of Illinoisans have taken advantage of these life-saving vaccines – they have given us the ability to adjust these requirements,” said Pritzker in a statement Thursday. “I continue to urge everyone in the state to stay up to date on vaccines and boosters, including getting the recently released bivalent booster shot. Although the current state of the pandemic is very different than it was two years ago, we still need to protect the most vulnerable members of our community as we continue to be responsive to the changing challenges and evolutions of this virus.”

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said the change reflected where the state stands in its pandemic response, where more treatment options exist than previously. Still, for those wishing to receive a COVID-19 test, 1 million rapid tests have been available to schools through IDPH.

Vohra asked that CDC recommendations, such as testing after winter or spring break, also still be followed.

The decision has the backing of the Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin and Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery.

Earlier in the pandemic, some Springfield-area teachers voiced their opposition to the testing mandate -- even leading to the firing of a Franklin Middle School music teacher. The mandate had been in place since August 2021.

Contact Patrick Keck: 312-549-9340,,