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Gov. JB Pritzker vetoes paid COVID-19 leave for school staff

Many Illinois teachers have had to use sick days for absences related to COVID-19. Gov. JB Pritzker vetoed a bill that would have required school districts to give paid time off for COVID-related absences, but plans to push similar legislation just for vaccinated staff. Marc Monaghan / WBEZ

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker vetoed a bill Monday that would have required public school districts and colleges to provide paid leave for workers who take days off related to COVID-19. But the plan isn’t dead.

Pritzker came to an agreement with the state’s teachers union and said he intends to advance a compromise replacement bill that focuses on vaccinated staff. Under the governor’s proposal, only fully vaccinated school employees will qualify for paid leave and restoration of sick days.

In a statement, the governor acknowledged workers who are “doing their part” by becoming fully vaccinated.

“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,” Pritzker said.

Read more: Vaccinated school staff may still get paid leave after Gov. JB Pritzker vetoes original bill