school masks 062520CHICAGO – With plans to return to in-person learning at schools this fall, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) urged students, faculty and staff to be mindful of safety guidelines and take all necessary precautions.

“Chicago has seen a precipitous decline in cases of COVID-19 due to an increase in testing and the mindful actions of everyday people,” Collins said. “If we are cavalier about social distancing, sanitation, or face coverings, however, that hard work and sacrifice could be reversed. Returning to school is important in light of the great inequality in access to at-home learning, but as we return to the classroom we must remember we are still in a pandemic.”

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.

The guidelines will apply to all K-12 schools public and private.