January 24, 2022
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House of Representatives,
102nd General Assembly:
As Governor, it is my priority to
keep students and teachers safely in the classroom. Today I announce a
collaborative initiative that will keep schools open and ensure that vaccinated
teachers are not penalized for caring for their children or themselves in the
event of a Covid-19-required absence.
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. 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.
Numerous organizations are impacted by this legislation, and
my administration has listened closely to all of them, including lawmakers and
our partners at the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation
of Teachers, parents, school districts, community colleges and universities.
Through a collaborative, cooperative process, we have negotiated an initiative
that will provide paid administrative leave for teachers who, despite doing all
they can to keep themselves and their communities safe, continue to have their
lives and livelihoods disrupted by Covid-19.
initiative provides for many of the same protections found in HB2778, with the
enhancement of the following protections for educators, school employees, and
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, a close contact with a
person who had a confirmed case of COVID-19, or a school or school district
policy requiring absence 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
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, a close contact with a person who had a confirmed case of COVID-19, or a
school or school district policy requiring absence due to COVID-19 symptoms.
Maintains wage protections in HB2778 for all hourly school
employees, including but not limited to, custodial, transportation, food
service providers, classroom assistants, or administrative staff required to
miss work during a school closure or e-learning day due to COVID-19.
I look forward to partnering with members of the General
Assembly and stakeholders to advance and sign legislation ensuring these
benefits for our state’s educators. This joint initiative renders the contents
of HB2778 moot, and today I veto House Bill 2778 from the 102nd
General Assembly in its entirety.
Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the
Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 2778, entitled “SCH
CD-DAILY PUPIL ATTENDANCE,” with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its