In-person learning guidelines have been announced by Governor J.B. Pritzker ahead of Phase 4 beginning on June 26.
The guidelines are applicable for K-12 schools, community colleges, and higher education institutions to safely welcome students back into buildings this coming fall.
State Aid for In-Person Learning
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) was granted $569 million in federal funding from the Cares Act for K-12 education. 90% of the funds will be funneled directly to school districts to address needs in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The remaining $54.1 million will direct funds to schools to help close the digital divide in low-income school districts by providing laptops, better internet connectivity and virtual coaching for teachers among other areas of needs.
In addition, the Illinois Emergency Managerment Agency (IEMA) will provide public K-12 districts with 2.5 million cloth face masks, for both students and staff.
“Classroom learning provides necessary opportunities for our students to learn, socialize, and grow. The benefits of in-person instruction can’t be overstated,” said Governor JB Pritzker.
Local educational agencies must apply to ISBE to receive funding from the CARES Act. Allocation of funds will be based on the number and percentage of low-income students the local educational agencies serves.
“Today ISBE, IBHE, and ICCB are issuing guidance that will serve as baseline public health requirements and expectations for the return of in-person learning this fall in P-12 schools and higher education, including all public school districts, non-public schools, colleges and universities. In close consultation with IDPH, infectious disease experts at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and other public health professionals, the guidance focuses on keeping students, teachers and families healthy and safe. It recognizes that Illinois is a diverse state, and school districts and institutions of higher education across Illinois will face unique challenges in how they’ll operate within their communities,” said Governor JB Pritzker.
- 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.
For additional material and details, you can visit: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/Part-3-Transition-Planning-Phase-4.pdf
Community College Guidelines:
- In person education will require face coverings to be worn by faculty, staff and students.
- Community colleges should conduct health screenings on employees, students and visitors before each campus visit.
- Community colleges should take additional measures to ensure social distancing and safety as determined by the features of spaces, learning methods, and other factors.
- Each community college should consider the needs of vulnerable staff or students when administering guidelines.
Higher Education Institutions:
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is tasked with assisting students in completing applications for financial aid. On a by-needed-basis, students can seek an adjustment in their financial aid offers from colleges and universities for the fall based on a change in their financial circumstances.
Additional resources and links specifically related to returning to campus and financial aid during the COVID-19 pandemic can visit: https://www.isac.org/covid-19/
District 203 and 204
The Naperville News 17 team reached out to local school districts to learn their next steps.
From District 203:
“Naperville 203 has been planning several scenarios for the coming school year. District leadership will need to review the guidance from the state as we finalize plans.”
From District 204:
“We are looking to present our plan at the July 13 board meeting. A team of administrators has been working on the plan for some time and has been waiting on the guidance from the state. Now that they have it, they can finalize plans that will meet the needs of our students. I anticipate we will have info to share with our parents in early July.”
For more detailed material for Safely Launching 2020 Academic Year can visit: https://www.ibhe.org/pdf/IBHE_Guidance_062220.pdf
Kevin Jackman reporting for Naperville News 17
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