Illinois issues guidance for in-person education this fall
Gov. JB Pritzker rolled out guidelines Tuesday for how schools may reopen this fall, including requirements that students, teachers and staff wear face coverings and practice safe social distancing when possible.
The state is also recommending capping the number of people who can be in a single space at 50 people, symptom screenings and temperature checks for anyone entering school buildings and an increase in school-wide cleaning and disinfection.
The guidance comes as Illinois is set to move into phase four of its reopening plan on Friday. Pritzker said the fact “most Illinoisans” have been listening to the advice from healthcare experts should provide confidence heading into the fall semester.
“Classroom learning provides necessary opportunities for our students to learn, socialize and grow,” he said. “The benefits of in-person instruction cannot be overstated.”
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency will provide more than 2.5 million face masks to school districts, Pritzker said.
Schools across the state closed on March 17, with the rest of the spring semester done through online classes.
Pritzker said Tuesday that schools should prepare for the possibility that they will need to return to remote learning if there is a resurgence this fall in new coronavirus.
Officials announced 38 more COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 6,707. An additional 601 cases were reported, bringing the state’s total to 137,825 in 101 counties.
An additional 20,507 COVID-10 tests were completed, bringing the total completed tests to 1,399,510. The positivity rate for tests over the past seven days is 2 percent.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said this is the fifth straight week with a decline in COVID-19 cases. She also pushed back against claims made by President Donald Trump about the necessity of COVID-19 tests, urging residents to get tested if they exhibit symptoms.
“Please forget what you’ve heard, increased testing is a good thing,” Ezike said.
With the continued decline in deaths, cases and hospitalization numbers, Ezike said it is time for residents to schedule health appointments that have been pushed off, such as immunizations for children, mammograms and colonoscopies.
“Now is the time to catch up, no more waiting,” she said.
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