District 25 teacher resigns rather than submit to state vaccine and testing mandates
Barely a month into the school year, a longtime Arlington Heights teacher plans to step down rather than receive a COVID-19 vaccination or submit to weekly testing.
It's said to be the first resignation in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 in response to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's statewide mandates on educators.
District officials confirmed Tuesday the South Middle School teacher provided notification of his intent to retire, which will take effect Friday, Sept. 24. They didn't name the teacher, but they said his resignation would be formally considered as part of personnel actions by the school board Thursday, Sept. 23.
All Illinois teachers and staff members in prekindergarten through 12th grade, as well as health care workers and higher education personnel and students, have until Sunday to receive the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. If they don't, they'll be required to get tested at least once a week, under the state requirement announced by Pritzker on Aug. 26.
Todd Witherow, a District 25 parent and former school board candidate, learned of the South teacher's resignation in an email the teacher sent to parents. It prompted Witherow to launch an online petition calling on the district to challenge the governor's mandates.
"I think the district and the school board should be consulting with their lawyers and others to understand the requirements of the mandate and whether or not it's something that's legally justified," Witherow said. "I believe strongly in the legislative process, and it should be legislated."
Adam Harris, a District 25 spokesman, did not provide a formal response to Witherow's petition. Harris did say employees who have not shown proof of vaccination are required to submit to weekly testing.
Most of the district staff is vaccinated: 81% of all staff, and 88% of teachers, Harris said.
As of Tuesday, there were no other teachers or staff members who have announced resignations due to the state mandates for vaccinations or testing, he said.