Teacher Resigns Rather Than Comply With Vaccine and Testing Mandate

A teacher in Illinois has resigned over COVID vaccine and weekly testing mandates, according to reports.

According to The Daily Herald, the veteran teacher from Arlington Heights chose to retire because of the mandates introduced for educators in August by Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Officials confirmed that the South Middle School teacher handed in his notice on Tuesday, according to the newspaper. It would come into effect on Friday, September 24.

Officials will formally consider the resignation at a school board meeting on September 23.

The teacher's name has not been released, according to The Daily Herald.

Todd Witherow, a parent in Arlington Heights School District 25 (D25), said he had learned of the teacher's resignation in an email. He has since started a petition to support educators' personal choice on whether to take up the vaccine.

The petition, seen by Newsweek, reads: "On September 13, D25 received a resignation letter from a well-respected 30-year teacher at South Middle School due to the state mandate for teachers to be vaccinated.

"Every D25 employee who wanted to receive a vaccination had the opportunity during the well-coordinated, exceptional effort by our leadership in February this year. [Superintendent Dr. Lori Bein] stated at a Board meeting in July that 'the number of vaccinated staff is very high.'

"The vaccine is easily accessible and free to all. It is reasonable to assume that any D25 employee who is not yet vaccinated has personal, religious or medical reasons for not receiving the vaccine."

It continued: "The law supports our teachers and our board in ensuring our teachers are not targeted, discriminated, segregated or potentially terminated due to their personal decision. The state has no authority to impose this mandate and force teachers to notify the [Illinois State Board of Education] of their failure to comply with the mandate issue."

On Thursday morning, the Change.org petition "Support D25 Teachers' Rights" had gathered 333 signatures out of a target of 500.

Newsweek has contacted Arlington Heights School District 25 for comment.

Vaccine mandates have divided Americans, with many claiming such measures violate their right to personal freedom.

In upstate New York, a hospital is being forced to stop delivering babies because six employees in its maternity unit decided to resign rather than getting vaccinated.

Lewis County General Hospital, in Lowville, is to pause deliveries from September 24.

Gerald Cayer, CEO of Lewis County Health System, said at a news conference: "If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to re-engage in delivering babies here in Lewis County."

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Vial
A worker prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a vaccination site in Philadelphia on March 26. The Illinois teacher's resignation is due to be discussed at a school board meeting on September 23. Matt Rourke/AP Photo