PEORIA, Ill, (WMBD) – Students will be back in the classroom come in August. On Tuesday, Governor J.B. Pritzker gave schools the okay to transition to in-person learning come fall.
His announcement to let schools slowly inch back to normalcy came after he said the limit on group gatherings is increasing from 10 people to 50. Meaning, as long as your classroom has less than 50 you can now take to the whiteboard as opposed to zoom. However, he made sure to let teachers know we are in an everchanging landscape, so although you may be planning an in school curriculum, don’t forget to have a remote one handy.
“Classroom learning provides necessary opportunities for our students to learn socialize and grow,” said Pritzker. “The benefits of in-person instruction cannot be overstated.”
In order to make this work he gave schools guidelines to make sure they are still placing a high value on safety. Some of those include, school districts must boost their cleaning efforts and regularly check for symptoms. In addition each person in the building must be wearing a mask, but he says the state will give every student in Illinois a cloth mask, at no cost to the district.
“I have every faith that as we look ahead to the fall our teachers, our professors and our administrators will continue to do what they do best,” said Pritzker. “Dedicating their days to make sure that every student in the state gets the education that they deserve.”
Immediately after he gave the green light, school districts everywhere began planning their next move.
For Unit 5 in Normal, leaders they are excited to finally open their classrooms.
Spokeswoman Dayna Brown told WMBD “We are happy Governor J.B. Pritzker has given us these guidelines allowing us to welcome kids back in the fall. She went on to say “Our goal now will be to work with parents, teachers, staff and community members on how to best follow these guidelines, and figure out how to make sure our students and staff will remain safe.”
But not all schools are ready to make major changes. In Peoria, Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat of Peoria Public Schools says, the transition may not be so easy for her district.
“The traditional model is most ideal, but for the time being it is very, very difficult to implement,” she said. “We looked at it from every angle, and we are just not able to do it, because we don’t have the space, we don’t have the staff, and transportation is another huge challenge.”
She says the district plans to have a mix of both in person and remote learning. But this poses questions, as many wonder how their children will be taken care of as parents will soon be back to work for most of the day. Kherat says, she will do everything in her power to make sure everyone who needs it has an option.
In addition, Dr. Izeke is telling parents to make sure your kids are ready for the fall. That means making a trip to doctor for physicals and immunizations. She says its important, now more than ever, to make sure your student is as healthy as possible when they return to school.