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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced Wednesday that the state would institute a mask mandate for preschool through high school students and staff and a vaccine mandate for some state employees.

Why it matters: The move comes as surging COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant in Illinois have led to rising hospitalization, ICU occupancy and ventilator use rates, per the governor's press release.

State of play: All students, teachers and staff in preschool through the 12th grade will be required to wear face masks regardless of vaccination status. The order is effective immediately, according to the press release.

  • Face masks will be required for all indoor extracurricular activities and sports but will not be mandatory outdoors in areas where transmission rates are lower.
  • In addition, state workers in high-contact settings will be required to get vaccinated by Oct. 4. This would apply to employees in places such as state prisons, veterans' homes, and care facilities, among others.

What they're saying: “Given the CDC’s strong recommendation, I had hoped that a state mask requirement in schools wouldn’t be necessary. But it is," Pritzker said in Chicago Wednesday.

  • "As your governor, it's my duty to say that we must all take immediate and urgent action to slow the spread of the Delta variant," he said, per NBC Chicago. "People are dying who don't have to die."
  • "We’re so thankful to have leadership in this state that won’t let the virus fester and grow," Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union, said in a statement praising the announcement.

The big picture: Illinois is just the latest state to implement mandatory measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

However, some states, like Florida, remain resistant to such measures.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Federal judge overturns Texas mask mandate ban for public schools

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) ban on mask mandates in state public schools "violates" the rights of students with disabilities.

Why it matters: U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in the ruling that the Americans with Disabilities Act overrides Abbott's order issued earlier this year prohibiting government entities in the state, including public schools, from requiring masks.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
32 mins ago - Sports

College football gone mad

Former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly walks in front of his players. Photo: David Madison/Getty Images

In the span of two days, the head coaches of two of the biggest college football programs in America have jumped ship, wooed by even greater challenges — and the almighty dollar.

Driving the news: Lincoln Riley is ditching Oklahoma for USC in a deal reportedly worth $110 million. LSU poached Brian Kelly from Notre Dame with a reported 10-year, $100 million contract.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.