Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin calls for action on health safety, student meal programs, continued student learning and wages for educators in the event of school closures due to COVID-19

SPRINGFIELD – In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic that has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) Illinois Education Association (IEA) President Kathi Griffin released the following statement:

“We are deeply concerned about the health and safety of our students, our educators and our communities. We have been advocating for schools to close, statewide. This is an extremely trying time for everyone and as the state’s largest education organization, we want our students, parents and educators to know we are fighting for them. We will all get through this together. We are calling for the following in regard to health and safety in our school districts:

  • School districts should inform all employees and parents if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in either an employee or a family member of an employee of a school building or office.
  • School districts should also inform all employees and parents if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in either a student or a family member of a student in the district.
  • The need for school districts to recommend or direct employees to “self-quarantine” shall be determined by the local health department.
  • The school district shall hold harmless any employee for attendance, performance, productivity, etc. for any lost time due to “self-quarantine” or school, building, or office closings.
  • The school district shall not penalize any student who is not in attendance due COVID-19 concerns.
  • Per the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, all staff will be encouraged to stay home if sick.  A notice will be sent via email and posted in common areas making staff aware.
  • All school employees shall be provided and have access to any and all necessary cleaning supplies necessary to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

If school is canceled in any district due to COVID-19, we also want to make sure:

  1. Students who rely on attending school for meals will still be fed either through the schools or through an alternate distribution plan, as determined by the district.
  2. We want to encourage all districts to work with our members to provide continuity of learning. This will take a toll, there is no question. There is no replacing educators in the classroom. However, public safety and the health of students and staff overrides everything else at this historic time.
  3. We are also concerned about any loss in wages for school employees, especially our hourly educators. We are fiercely advocating for school districts to continue to get state and federal funding so that our members can continue to get paid even if schools are closed.”


The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.

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