Note: Press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the video player above.
Chicago Public Schools released a framework for reopening in the fall on Friday, calling for a hybrid model of both in-person instruction and remote learning - though the district is asking for feedback before making any final decisions on a plan closer to when school begins in September.
That highly anticipated release comes as Gov. J.B. Pritzker has taken an unusual step in preemptively filing a lawsuit to require students to wear face masks in schools when they do return to classrooms.
Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around Illinois today, July 17:
Cook County Issues Emergency Travel Guidance With Quarantine Requirement
The Cook County Department of Public Health on Friday issued emergency travel guidance directing travelers from certain states to quarantine for 14 days.
The guidance mirrors Chicago's travel order, which also requires anyone visiting or returning to the city from one of 17 states to self-quarantine for two weeks.
Cook County, which includes several suburbs surrounding Chicago, will follow the same list of states as the one that took effect in the city Friday.
“We have come a long way in Cook County and Illinois and we want to keep it that way,” Cook County Department of Public Health Co-Lead and Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Rachel Rubin, said in a statement. “It is summer and we know people want to travel, but we have to remain vigilant to keep our gains and avoid having to close places we’ve only just reopened.”
Read more here.
Illinois Reports More Than 1,300 New Coronavirus Cases
An additional 1,300 cases of coronavirus were reported on Friday in Illinois, along with 22 more deaths, state health officials said.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 1,384 new cases were reported over the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total of cases during the pandemic to 159,334.
Friday's death toll brings the number of fatalities related to COVID-19 to 7,272, according to health officials.
In all, 43,692 new specimens were returned to state laboratories, increasing the number of reported test results since the pandemic began to 2,166,299. More than 40,000 tests have been performed for the second day in a row, state health officials said.
On Thursday, 43,006 new specimens were returned to laboratories in the state, marking a new daily testing record.
The rolling seven-day positivity rate remains at three percent, according to IDPH.
Hospitalization numbers dropped slightly, with 1,431 hospitalizations for COVID-19. Of those patients, 309 were in intensive care units, and 128 patients were on ventilators.
Chicago Public Schools Releases Reopening Framework
Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday announced a draft framework for a plan to reopen schools in the fall as the coronavirus pandemic continues - asking for community input before making any final decisions in August.
The framework includes plans for a hybrid model of learning that combines some in-person instruction and some remote learning from home, CPS said - though the district asked for parent and student feedback before finalizing a plan closer to when the school year begins.
Under the framework, both half and full day pre-K programs will learn at school, while students in kindergarten through 10th grade would operate under a hybrid model. In the hybrid model, CPS says approximately 50% of its student population would attend school in person on any given day.
Most students in 11th and 12th grades - high school juniors and seniors - would learn entirely at home "given the diverse course scheduling requirements" of those students, the district says.
Under the hybrid model, "students will be placed in pods of approximately 15 students during the school day in order to minimize exposure to other students and to support rapid contact tracing should a member of the pod contract COVID-19," the district said. "Student pods will receive instruction in assigned rooms with assigned seating and use the same designated spaces in a building, such as bathrooms. Students within a pod will also wear masks and maintain social distancing to the greatest extent possible throughout the school day, with desks spaced six feet apart where feasible."
Each pod would spend the same two consecutive days each week at school, and the same two days at home. Every Wednesday they would participate in "real-time virtual instruction with their classroom teacher."
Illinois Officials Dispel Rumors About Remote Learning Announcement
Rumors that Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to announce a return to remote learning for the fall are "false," according to Illinois' superintendent of education.
"We are aware of a rumor circulating about the possibility of Governor Pritzker announcing at a press conference [Friday] a return to fully remote learning for the fall," Dr. Carmen I. Ayala wrote in an email Thursday evening. "We have confirmed with the Governor's Office that the rumor is false."
Parents at multiple school districts in the Chicago area reported receiving word from school officials that state guidance could be changing Friday or "very soon."
According to Ayala, there are no changes to the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health guidance for the fall yet. Pritzker's office, however, could not be reached for comment on the matter.
The state's guidance was released last month as part of phase four of the “Restore Illinois” reopening plan. Under those state requirements, students will be limited to gatherings of fewer than 50 individuals, extra sanitation measures will be required and all students age 5 or older will be required to wear facial coverings.
However, Illinois' regulations specify that each district is required to come up with its own individual plan for returning to class.
More details can be found here.
Pritzker Sues to Require Masks in Schools
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has taken the unusual step of preemptively filing a lawsuit to ensure school children wear face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus when schools reopen in a few weeks.
The action filed late Thursday in Sangamon County Circuit Court by the state attorney general seeks a judge's approval of Pritzker's order that schoolchildren, teachers and staff wear coverings over mouths and noses among other measures to reduce the chance that the highly contagious and potentially deadly virus can spread.
“As a father, I would not send my children to a school where face coverings are not required because the science is clear: face coverings are critical to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” Pritzker said in a statement.
It's typical for the governor to be in court as a defendant seeking validation of a policy or action. In this instance, no lawsuit has been filed, but a public school district and two private academies have informed the Illinois State Board of Education that Pritzker no longer has authority under emergency rule-making to require face masks in schools and that they will be developing their own safety rules.
It was time to get ahead of the issue, Ann Spillane, Pritzker's chief legal counsel, told The Associated Press.
“Students need to prepare, parents need to know what’s coming, administrators need guidelines. Confusion on these things leads to risk,” Spillane said. “We're sending a signal that this issue is not up for debate. The governor doesn't have an option."
Pritzker to Discuss Summer Jobs, 2020 U.S. Census
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to hold two news conferences in Waukegan on Friday. The first will be to discuss jobs supported by the state's Summer Youth Employment Program, beginning at around 12 p.m. at Employee Connections in Waukegan.
The second will be to discuss the 2020 U.S. Census and "the importance of being counted" beginning at around 1 p.m. at Hinkston Park in Waukegan, according to his public schedule.
Pritzker discussed both topics in events in Rockford on Thursday. Friday's news conferences can be watched live in the video player above.
When Should You Get a Coronavirus Test After an Exposure? Illinois' Top Health Official Shares Best Timeline
Illinois' top public health official on Wednesday detailed the best timeframe in which to get tested for coronavirus after a potential exposure: at least six or seven days later.
"You need to wait at least six to seven days after your exposure to get tested because that's a better chance of actually showing a positive test result," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said at a news conference, delivering an update on the pandemic alongside Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
"If you find out a day after; you got contacted by your friend that the day before they were positive and you were with them just that day before, it's too soon to get a test," she continued. "So please, a six-or-seven-day window after your exposure is the ideal time to get tested."
Ezike went on to explain that the state has seen "many individuals" who did not test positive on day six or seven after an exposure - but developed symptoms later.
"Up to 30% of people might not test positive or develop symptoms on day eight, nine, 10, up to day 14," she said. "So in the interest of not spreading it to other people, we have to do that 14-day quarantine."
Ezike insisted that any residents who learn that a friend, relative or contact of theirs tested positive quarantine at home for two weeks - regardless of symptoms, test results or any other factors.
More details can be found here.
How Long Should It Take to Get Your Coronavirus Test Results Back in Chicago?
How long should you have to wait to find out the results of your coronavirus test? According to Chicago health officials, city-run testing sites can take anywhere from 2 to 6 days.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said it's "unusual for us to get it even the next day."
"In most cases we're getting it two to three, but sometimes up to five or six days later," she said.
Those numbers can change, however, for test results at third-party sites, some of which report up 10 days of waiting.
"There have been other testing sites that have been set up by third parties that are taking way too long," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said earlier this week.
WATCH: Chicago Doctors Answer Your Questions
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every family and community in a variety of ways. As we navigate where Illinois stands in its reopening plan, NBC 5 wanted to examine more than just the numbers. So we brought together a panel of experts to help get your questions answered.
Illinois Reports More Than 1,200 New Coronavirus Cases, State Sets Daily Testing Record
Health officials in Illinois confirmed more than 1,200 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, along with 25 additional deaths.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 1,257 new cases were reported over the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total of cases during the pandemic to 157,950.
Thursday's death toll brings the number of fatalities related to COVID-19 to 7,251, according to health officials.
In all, 43,006 new specimens were returned to laboratories in the state, marking a new daily testing record for the state, which has now reported 2,122,607 test results since the pandemic began.
The rolling seven-day positivity rate remains at just over three percent, according to health officials.
Hospitalization numbers dropped slightly, with 1,434 hospitalizations for COVID-19. Of those patients, 311 were in intensive care units, and 127 patients were on ventilators as of Wednesday evening.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Cancels Performances Through Late December
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has canceled all of its’ performances and programs through late December amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement by the organization.
On Thursday, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association announced all programs scheduled from Sept. 17 through Dec. 23 have been canceled.
The events include all CSO concerts, Symphony Center Presents, MusicNOW and public programs like the Civic Orchestra of Chicago concerts, according to the CSOA.
More details can be found here.
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