Joliet Junior College needs to finalize details on how to implement Pritzker’s mandate

The governor has required all college students, staff to get vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19

JJC

Joliet Junior College said it needs to finalize details on how it will implement Gov. JB Pritzker’s recently announced mandates for all college workers and students to get vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19.

Pritzker announced last week he is mandating higher education personnel and students, along with preschool through 12th grade teachers and staff, to get their first dose by Sept. 5 or submit to weekly testing.

“We understand this is still a major shift for our college community, taking into account the logistics of this mandate for an institution of our size, and how best to implement a framework that does not impact our ability to serve students,” JJC spokeswoman Kelly Rohder-Tonelli said in a statement. “The most important thing for us today has been to keep lines of communication open with students and employees, and exercise patience while we finalize details.”

Rohder-Tonelli added that the college has been “proactive prior to the governor’s vaccine mandate, offering routine COVID testing and vaccine clinics.”

JJC last week said it was partnering with SHIELD Illinois, a saliva testing program through the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, to offer COVID-19 testing on its main campus. The college in encouraging its students and employees to get tested routinely, especially if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Rapid testing is available at JJC for students and staff from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Fridays.

The college has also maintained its indoor mask requirement, even as restrictions were lifted over the summer. Pritzker also announced last week that all residents over age 2, regardless of their vaccination status, are required to wear masks indoors in public starting Monday.

Fall classes at JJC began last week with a combination of in-person, online and hybrid courses.

Last week, grade school officials were also trying to figure out how they would accommodate Pritzker’s mandates.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.