As a result of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s decision to extend the state’s “stay-at-home” order through April 30, all schools in the state will remain closed to on-site learning through that date.
Schools have been closed since mid-March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and while many school districts have shifted to online learning, all school districts in the state will be asked to work on remote learning plans as the shutdown moves forward.
According to Pritzker, those plans will be designed for all students, including those with disabilities and English language learners, and will be tailored to the needs of all districts throughout the state.
With the extended “stay-at-home” order, the state will transition from using “Act of God” days to “Remote Learning Days” by order of the state Board of Education. That switch will allow schools to conduct online learning and will mean that make-up dates will not be required moving forward, according to Pritzker.
Grades will still be given out for online learning assignments, but grades will only be used for feedback purposes, according to directives issued by the board of education.
In a statement read at his daily coronavirus press briefing Tuesday, Pritzker empathized with students, staying that he understands how strange the current situation is, but that extending the deadline was necessary for the health of all residents in the state.
“I won’t try and tell you that texting and calling each other is the same as hanging out in the hallways or in the lunchroom,” he said. “I won’t try and tell you that a Zoom prom is the same as a real prom. I won’t try and tell you not to be sad about the lost goals and plans you had for March and April – it’s okay to be sad. And if you do feel sad, or frustrated, or angry – whatever you feel – please: let yourself feel that way. Don’t beat yourself up over being human.
“And if you are experiencing overwhelming anxiety or you have a friend who is and need someone to talk to, there are resources available to you by phone and online through both ISBE and our Department of Human Services,” he added.
The governor called the current pandemic a “unique moment,” and encouraged students to recognize the historically significant times in which they are living.
“Once you’re ready, take a look around. Take in the incredibly unique moment that you’re living in,” he said. “Yes, it’s scary and uncertain and difficult. But if you’re looking for a lesson in the fundamental goodness of your community, it’s there.”