Governor JB Pritzker
and ISBE Superintendent Carmen Ayala announced the return of
in-person schooling in the fall. There will be requirements to
attend, including face coverings, temperature checks, and increased
Pritzker said so far, children across the state have been able to return to daycare and summer camps, and begin youth sports, and they want children to continue to expand their normal activities.
Full guidelines,laid out in a 63 page document, can be read here.
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 event of a second wave of the virus, or a drastic change in
public health metrics, schools must be prepared at any moment to
return to remote learning” Pritzker said.
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. 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
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.
ensure Illinois school districts are able to obtain the necessary
supplies to resume in person instruction safely, ISBE and the Chief
Procurement Office Bureau of Strategic Sourcing have secured several
joint purchase agreements that K-12 can utilize to obtain supplies at
prices that may be more competitive than purchasing on their own.
ISBE will continue to expand the number of purchasing agreements in
the coming weeks.
Emergency Management Agency plans to provide cloth masks to every
student, teacher, and staff member in every public school district in
Illinois. Over $2.5 million masks, at no cost to the districts,” he
said, adding that the ability to have or purchase a mask shouldn’t
prevent students from returning to school. The guidance does add that
face shields should be considered by the schools so students and
educators can properly read emotions.
For K-12 Schools
guidance released by ISBE and IDPH today allows schools to bring
students back to school buildings in the fall while ensuring the
health and safety of students and staff remains the top priority. The
guidance was developed in collaboration with 56 educators,
superintendents, social workers, nurses, and other stakeholders from
across the state.
compares to face-to-face interactions between students and their
teachers,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I.
Ayala. “The dedication of Illinoisans to social distancing over
the past several months has allowed us to plan to bring students back
to classrooms this fall while keeping health and safety our number
one priority. School will look a bit differently than we are
accustomed to, but our focus remains on ensuring each and every child
receives a high quality education. As much as possible, we have tried
to provide common and clear requirements, while preserving the
flexibility of each school and district to develop a reopening plan
that meets the needs of the community and the children that they
school district will determine how to implement the guidance based on
its unique student enrollment, school facilities, staffing,
transportation, and technological capacity. ISBE strongly encourages
schools and districts to provide in-person instruction for all
students, especially those under age 13, to ensure children have rich
IDPH Requirements for schools to reopen in Phase 4 are:
use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including
more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
social distancing whenever possible;
symptom screenings and temperature checks or require
self-certification that individuals entering school buildings are
symptom free; and
schoolwide cleaning and disinfection.
social distancing be observed as much as possible;
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
an increase in schoolwide cleaning and disinfection.
are also requirements for higher education institutes, and students
who are not medically able will not have to wear a mask. Schools
should also discontinue reward programs for perfect attendance and
should encourage students to stay home when they are ill.
students will be required to wear their masks while singing and
participating in choreography, and band students may remove their
masks only to play their instruments only when absolutely necessary.
for skill loss
will also be collaborative efforts between educators and families to
help get students up to the standard of their new grade level, as
well as to address learning loss during remote learning.
regression during remote learning is expected,” the guidance
states, asking districts to consider strong reviews during the first
several weeks of school, expanding intervention programs,
incorporating before, during, and after school tutoring programs, and
having meetings, virtually when possible, with families to address
needs of the student and what the family can do to help.
and Physical Education Guidance
guidance includes limiting the number of students in hallways, and
asking schools to consider rotating teachers rather than rotating
guidelines also say “Suspend the use of lockers, if possible.
Sharing lockers should be prohibited. If lockers must be used,
consider staggering locker assignments and create schedules to
stagger locker access to allow for 6-foot distancing between
students. For example, students could be assigned to every other or
every third locker depending on their width.”
discontinuation of locker rooms is also recommended, and use of
showers should also be discontinued. Physical Education should take
place outdoors whenever possible or indoors with markings six feet
apart on the floor, and shared equipment is not recommended, but
should be disinfected between students if sharing is necessary.
50 people are allowed to be in the cafeteria at any given time. If
districts could manage to stagger lunches, the cafeterias can still
be utilized, or students can eat in classrooms.
possible, consider delivering meals to classrooms or having students
eat outdoors while ensuring social distancing is implemented. If
students eat in the classroom, consider how an allergy-free area will
be provided, as needed. Additionally, the room should be disinfected
after eating prior to resuming classroom activities.
should be individually plated. Buffets, salad bars, and the sharing
of food and utensils should be prohibited. Ensure that students are
served all items, including items such as milk and fresh fruits,
rather than having students help themselves. Consider using
disposable food service items (e.g., utensils, dishes). ”
guidelines do not specifically mention recess, but they do recommend
continuing to not use playgrounds, or to utilize them one classroom
at a time rather than several classrooms mixed together.
repeated that at the first sign of rising COVID-19 statistics,
schools would revert to remote learning, and said ” I have every
faith that as we look ahead to the fall, our teachers, professors and
administrators will continue to do what they do best – dedicating
their days to ensuring every student in this state receives the
education they deserve.”