We’re requiring every employee to get vaccinated — and you should, too

Employers and government agencies have an obligation to do all they can to protect everyone from the devastating effects of COVID-19.

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A civilian contractor receives his COVID-19 vaccine on Sept. 9 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The Pentagon has mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for all military service members.


As the pandemic continues, our organizations are requiring all staff to be vaccinated to protect our employees and the conservation community — even though we do not meet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirement of at least 100 employees.

We believe employers and government agencies have an obligation to do all they can to protect everyone from the devastating effects of COVID-19.

From the onset of the pandemic last year, we have — like many businesses and organizations — attempted to adapt to these challenging times and we will continue to do so. We have instituted preventive measures at our workplaces to help keep employees safe: transitioning to remote and hybrid work, limiting the number of people in the office at any given time, and wearing masks and social distancing while in the office.

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Our work continues thanks to the dedication and perseverance of our employees and supporters.

We believe that everyone who can be vaccinated safely for COVID-19 and its variants must be vaccinated so as to keep all of us safe, and to overcome this worldwide pandemic. We recognize that exemptions and reasonable accommodations for medical or strongly held religious beliefs should be taken into account. Health and safety are paramount, and employers have a duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards.

The key fact in fighting the pandemic is clear: approved COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are proven to be effective at minimizing transmission of the disease, as well as inminimizing the effects on those who become infected. Ending this pandemic requires using all the tools we have available, including everyone getting vaccinated.

In this country, we are luckier than many other people around the globe who still struggle for access to the vaccines. It’s time all employers get on board for the well-being of their employees and for the collective good of our society.

Paul Botts, president and executive director, The Wetlands Initiative
Benjamin Cox, executive director, Friends of the Forest Preserves
Margaret Frisbie, executive director, Friends of the Chicago River

Justice Barrett and partisanship

At the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center on Sunday, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett is reported to have expressed concerns “that the public may increasingly see the court as a partisan institution.” The McConnell Center, we should note, is named for the same Mitch Mcconnell who, as Republican majority Leader, blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court nine months before the election. And this is the same McConnell who allowed quick confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee, one Amy Coney Barrett, eight days before the election.

That’s not partisan?

If Justice Barrett cannot recognize the overt partisanship that led to her own confirmation to the Supreme Court, she’ll never recognize overt partisanship within the Supreme Court.

Bob Barth, Edgewater

Yep, that’s partisan

The time for Justice Amy Coney Barrett to decry Supreme Court partisanship was when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell secured her appointment to the court, the second half of a political power play that began with the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Barrett should have called her appointment what it was at the time — a partisan appointment — and offered her resignation.

John Powers, Rolling Meadows

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