Public schools in Illinois are all set to open this fall irrespective of COVID-19 cases. As a protective measure against the spread of virus, the state will provide 2.5 million face coverings to K-12 students. J B Pritzker, flanked by other education administrators, announced safety guidelines under which schools and universities will operate.
Till now, Illinois has receieved $569 million as pandemic relief fund the bulk of which will be transferred to elementary and secondary schools to accumulate resources to mitigate COVID-19 risks.
To ensure safe education and prevent further interference in the continuum of learning, the Illinois State Board of Education will invest $54 million into schools for procuring laptops, internet connectivity and resources for professional development and virtual coaching.
“Classroom learning provides necessary opportunities for our students to learn, socialize and grow,” commented Pritzker during release of the guidelines for safe classroom learning. “The benefits of in-person instruction can’t be overstated.”
“Anxiety remains high over class sizes and the lack of school nurses and other health and safety resources. We continue to be concerned about the deep disparities that exist in schools, especially in our Black and Brown communities, who still lack access to the internet and computers,” reads a joint statement issued by Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin and Dan Montgomery, President of Illinois Federation of Teachers.