Governor JB Pritzker reinstated the Illinois mask mandate on Thursday, August 26. People in Illinois are now required to wear their mask indoors regardless of vaccination status.
Due to a steep rise in COVID-19 cases and the new delta variant making a more apparent appearance, wearing masks is now mandated again. According to the McHenry County Department of Health, only about 27.3% of McHenry hospital beds are available and ready to take in patients. 31,315 cases of COVID have been reported in McHenry County since the start of the pandemic.
Junior Becca Bodden is pleased that the mask mandate is back in place. “I think that it will help us get back to normal as soon as possible,” she says.
As the delta variant spreads, fewer people are wearing masks regardless of their vaccination status, adding more truth to the name ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated.’ “People won’t wear their masks correctly,” Bodden adds, “so that really isn’t helping with the amount of cases.”
Governor Pritzker also required all educators, Kindergarten through college, and healthcare physicians to either be vaccinated or takeweekly COVID tests.
Many MCHS teachers and staff were vaccinated in February and March, but not all. Physical education teacher and wrestling coach Jake Guardalabene says, “I trust that the people making these decisions have the best interest for the people of Illinois.”
With the Pfizer vaccine being officially approved by the CDC will encourage more people to get vaccinated, slow the spread of COVID-19, and keep Illinois businesses open.
Guardalabene is also in full support of the masks and vaccine becoming mandatory. “If these steps will keep school open then I am all for it,” he says. “The last thing I want is for school to shut down again.”
This is considered a crucial step forward to make sure Illinois can continue to stay open. These new mandates officially go into effect on September 5.