All Illinois schools can resume in-person classes this fall

The plan calls for some schools to use “blended” schedules to keep classroom numbers down and continue some e-learning. Schools may also extend their year into the summer to accommodate additional days.

Sam Masterson
June 23, 2020 - 4:53 pm

(KMOX) - Gov. JB Pritzker announced guidelines that will allow K-12 schools, community colleges, and higher education institutions to safely resume in-person instruction this fall in Illinois.

Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will provide public K-12 districts in Illinois with 2.5 million cloth face masks, that will be available for all students and staff.

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"Classroom learning provides necessary opportunities for our students to learn, socialize, and grow. The benefits of in-person instruction can't be overstated," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Today ISBE, IBHE, and ICCB are issuing guidance that will serve as baseline public health requirements and expectations for the return of in-person learning this fall in P-12 schools and higher education, including all public school districts, non-public schools, colleges and universities. In close consultation with IDPH, infectious disease experts at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and other public health professionals, the guidance focuses on keeping students, teachers and families healthy and safe. It recognizes that Illinois is a diverse state, and school districts and institutions of higher education across Illinois will face unique challenges in how they'll operate within their communities."

The IDPH requirements for schools to reopen in Phase 4 are:

  • Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings;
  • Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
  • Require social distancing whenever possible;
  • Conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require self-certification that individuals entering school buildings are symptom free; and
  • Increase schoolwide cleaning and disinfection.
  • Require social distancing be observed as much as possible;
  • Require that schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and
  • Require an increase in schoolwide cleaning and disinfection.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) received $569 million in federal funding from the CARES Act for K-12 education, approximately $512 million of which will go directly to school districts to address local needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. IBSE will use the remaining $54.1 million to provide additional funding to schools in six categories: laptops and tablets, internet connectivity, virtual coaching for teachers, professional development, and support for entities who cannot receive direct funds due to ineligibility for Title I.

Local education agencies must apply to ISBE to receive funding from the CARES Act and the amount received will be based on the number and percentage of low-income students they serve. ISBE has already received applications from 580 local education agencies for this funding, with the goal of purchasing a variety of tools and resources, including technology devices, WiFi hotspots, and health and safety equipment for schools in need. Local school districts also plan to use funding to hire mental health support staff to provide services for students, families, and staff. ISBE has approved 534 applications thus far and distributed nearly three million dollars in funds.

For full details from Gov. Pritzker's office, click here

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