As the state moves into phase 4 of Restore Illinois Plan, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Tuesday new guidelines that will allow education institutions to safely resume in-person classes for the upcoming academic year.
To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will provide public K-12 districts in Illinois with 2.5 million cloth face masks, allowing K-12 schools to provide a cloth face mask to all students and staff.
During Pritzker’s live press conference, it was announced that $512 million in federal funding from the CARE Act will directly go to school districts to address local needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An additional $54.1 million in CARES funding will provide funding to schools in six categories: 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.
The IDPH requirements for schools to reopen in Phase 4 are:
- 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; and
- Increase schoolwide cleaning and disinfection.
Guidelines set for colleges and higher education institutions include adhering to social distancing guidelines. Schools are developing policies around traffic flow, cleaning of public spaces, and staggered schedules for the use of laboratories, auditoriums and other group facilities. Small-group sessions and meetings with professors will also have to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Nevertheless, colleges expect dormitories, cafeterias, libraries, bookstores, and other amenities of college life to be available to students, subject to the approved guidelines.
The full list of guidelines is available at The Illinois Board of Higher Education website.