Plans for Reopening Schools Announced

  • Date Posted
    June 23, 2020
  • Category
Governor JB Pritzker and state officials have announced plans for reopening Illinois K-12 schools as the state moves into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. On June 23, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released joint guidance to address the start of the 2020-21 school year and return to in-person instruction.

The announcement acknowledged that a one-size-fits-all approach to the reopening of schools is inadequate. Part Three of the Transition Plan "Starting the 2020-21 School Year" focuses on keeping students, teachers, and families healthy and safe. It allows local school districts to implement reopening plans that meet the needs of the children and communities they serve. Schools must meet minimum public health requirements to reopen in Phase 4.

IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand joined state officials for the public announcement. Bertrand commended the Governor’s efforts to provide a path for the safe return of children to in-person learning: “We know that during a national crisis, schools are often the institutions best positioned to address the academic and social-emotional needs of children and the basic needs of many families. It is important to connect every child with caring, committed, competent educators — starting with the first day of school. The opportunity to return to school for in-person learning is an important step toward establishing that connection that is so important to the academic and social-emotional growth of our students.”

In May, IASB compiled guidance to assist its member school boards in discussions and preparation for reopening schools. A letter issued to Governor Pritzker emphasized the need for flexibility for local school boards to plan for the reopening of schools and to provide a healthy and supportive environment for learning to occur.

The Part Three guidance is based on ISBE’s Transition Advisory Workgroup’s recommendations and follows Part One, focused on closing out the 2019-20 school year, and Part Two, regarding summer school and other activities.