Gov. JB Pritzker has ordered schools throughout the state to remain closed for the rest of the semester because of the threat of the coronavirus.
Pritzker announced the action Friday during his daily coronavirus briefing in Chicago, extending school closures past the April 30 date he previously set.
“I’ve said time and time again, our decisions must follow the science and the science says our students can’t go back to their normal routine this school year,” said Pritzker. “Over the last month, Illinois’ schools have stepped up and faced the many challenges of COVID-19 with generosity, creativity, and a resolute focus on caring for students, parents and communities. I am confident that our schools will manage and expand the learning opportunities for all our children who will be working from home over the coming weeks.”
Students will continue to receive instruction and assignments over the internet through the end of the semester.
Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery applauded the move.
"Under these difficult circumstances and with limited resources, educators have been doing what they love – teaching and engaging our children remotely while adjusting to the new normal," Montgomery said. "As this pandemic has made abundantly clear, there are vast economic, educational and healthcare disparities existing in our poorest communities, especially in our black and brown communities. Many of our students lack laptops and internet access, which prevents them from learning. This is compounded with economic insecurity.
"As educators and unionists, we remain committed to working with our members, elected officials, and policy advocates to address these inequalities and level the playing field for our working and lower-income students and families," he added.
The governor has waived the edTPA and student teaching requirement for educator candidates who have completed all other requirements for licensure. These and other emergency changes to educator licensure will ensure that the COVID-19 does not impact local school district’s ability to hire qualified educators they need to support students.
Through Friday, the pandemic has claimed 1,134 lives in Illinois among 27,575 cases reported.
COVID-19 #IHSA Update:
"The IHSA Board will make a final determination on spring sport state tournaments when it meets on Tuesday. As previously indicated, the cessation of in-person learning will make it difficult for the IHSA to conduct spring state tournaments this year."
— IHSA #IHSA (@IHSA_IL) April 17, 2020
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