CHICAGO (WMBD) — Gov. JB Pritzker announced guidelines for K-12 schools and higher education institutions to safely resume in-person classes for the upcoming school year Tuesday.
Among the announcements, Pritzker announced that the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will provide 2.5 million cloth masks to public K-12 schools for students and staff.
The Illinois State Board of Education also received $569 million in federal funding from the CARES act to provide supplies to address local needs to combat COVID-19. The board will also provide $54.1 million to assist schools with funding for 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.
During the announcement Pritzker emphasized the importance of in-person instructions.
“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. “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 Illinois Department of Public Health requirment to reopen in phase 4 includes:
- Require the 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 school-wide cleaning and disinfection.
More Information about K-12 schools can be found here.
Higher education institutions and community colleges will also have their own guidelines that will include social distancing and sanitizing stations.
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