The guidance released by Illinois State Board Education and Illinois Department of Public Health today allows schools to bring students back to school buildings in the fall while ensuring the health and safety of students and staff remains the top priority. The guidance was developed in collaboration with 56 educators, superintendents, social workers, nurses, and other stakeholders from across the state.
Each school district will determine how to implement the guidance based on its unique student enrollment, school facilities, staffing, transportation, and technological capacity. ISBE strongly encourages schools and districts to provide in-person instruction for all students, especially those under age 13, to ensure children have rich instructional environments.
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.
To ensure Illinois school districts are able to obtain the necessary supplies to resume in person instruction safely, ISBE and the Chief Procurement Office Bureau of Strategic Sourcing have secured several joint purchase agreements that K-12 can utilize to obtain supplies at prices that may be more competitive than purchasing on their own. ISBE will continue to expand the number of purchasing agreements in the coming weeks.