holmes 030420AURORA — As Illinois’ number of COVID-19 cases keeps dropping, health and education officials have given the go-ahead to reopen schools this fall with a thorough set of guidelines, according to Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora).

“We saw so much success by teachers, parents and students adapting to learning at home during a period none of us expected,” Holmes said. “Things will still be different so that learning can be resumed safely, but it will be back to classrooms.”

The Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health outlined guidelines for K-12 schools and higher education institutions to safely resume in-person learning this fall, while ensuring the health and safety of students and staff is prioritized. The groups worked with educators, superintendents, social workers, nurses and other stakeholders to create the 60-page guidance.

The guidelines for Phase 4 will, among other things:

  • Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment, including face coverings;
  • Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
  • Require social distancing be observed, as much as possible;
  • Require schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and
  • Require an increase in school-wide cleaning and disinfection.

All public and nonpublic schools in Illinois serving K-12 students must follow these guidelines.

“Students and teachers can maintain health and safety guidelines back in their familiar classrooms and surroundings. It is a great step forward,” Holmes said.