With Illinois schools allowed to return for in-person learning comes plenty of questions and concerns as schools and universities prepare for fall.
News that instruction in classrooms could return with new restrictions was announced by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Tuesday.
“Classroom learning provides necessary opportunities for our students to learn, socialize, and grow. The benefits of in-person instruction can’t be overstated,” Pritzker said in a statement.
Here's a look at the guidelines:
- 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
- Increase schoolwide cleaning and disinfection
How the guidance is implemented will depend largely on each individual district's plan. In addition, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will provide public K-12 districts with 2.5 million cloth face masks.
"Each school district will determine how to implement the guidance based on its unique student enrollment, school facilities, staffing, transportation, and technological capacity," the guidance states. "ISBE strongly encourages schools and districts to provide in-person instruction for all students, especially those under age 13, to ensure children have rich instructional environments."
Read more here.
Schools will need to develop plans to limit traffic flow, increase cleaning of public spaces, and stagger schedules for the use of laboratories, auditoriums and other group facilities, according to the guidance. Small-group sessions and meetings must also adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Still, colleges dormitories, cafeterias, libraries, bookstores, and other amenities of college life will be allowed for students.
“The path to personal success runs right through our schools, classrooms, colleges and universities. A good education means a good future for you and your families. When the economy rebounds, we want our students to be prepared for those jobs and that means--stay the course and stay in school,” Ginger Ostro, IBHE Executive director, said in a statement.
Read more here.
- In person education will require face coverings to be worn by faculty, staff and students.
- Community colleges should conduct health screenings on employees, students and visitors before each campus visit.
- Community colleges should take additional measures to ensure social distancing and safety as determined by the features of spaces, learning methods, and other factors.
"Each community college should consider the needs of vulnerable staff or students when administering guidelines," the guidance states.
Read more here.
Pritzker signed legislation last week that changes the school code to give districts more options for remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes “blended learning,” in which students receive instruction both remotely and in person.
Pritzker's latest guidance comes just days before Illinois is set to enter phase four of its reopening plan.
Phase four of the "Restore Illinois" plan allows for the reopening or expansion of several industries, including indoor dining at restaurants, health and fitness, movies and theaters, museums and zoos and more. This next phase also increases the size of gatherings that are allowed from 10 people to a maximum of 50 people.