Governor cancels schools statewide to curb coronavirus


Photo Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces all K-12 schools statewide will be closed beginning Tuesday, in an effort to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

On Thursday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all state pre-K and K-12 schools to close to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. 

The closures start on Tuesday and will last until at least March 30. The closures apply to both public and private schools.  

The Illinois State Board of Education advised schools to “make every effort” to provide meals to the roughly 2 million schoolchildren in the state. The ISBE obtained a waiver from the USDA to provide meals during the closures. 

For schools to provide meals during the closure period, school administrators must complete a one-page form and send it to ISBE. 

Illinois is the ninth state to close schools statewide. Over 90 districts had already cancelled classes before Pritzker’s announcement. 

ISBE encouraged schools to continue students’ education however possible. 

“You have full autonomy to provide continuous learning opportunities in the way that you are able, including through technology and free online resources. We encourage you to explore and implement what works best for your school community,” said State Superintendent of Education Carmen I. Ayala in a letter addressed to Illinois schools. 

The ISBE included a list of ideas for remote education: 

  • Send books home with students and/or print out articles, poetry and writing prompts.
  • Assign a long-term research-based project aligned to multiple standards.
  • Put together learning packets to review or enhance material already taught. 
  • Assign simple science projects that could be done at home. 
  • Review textbooks and print the supplemental lessons that one often does not have time to do in class. 
  • Use any online resources available to teachers and print assignments to do at home. 
  • Have students write reflection essays about a movie watched or a book read and scaffold the assignment for different age ranges.
  • If your school district is providing grab-and-go meals or meal delivery, make take home packets available at the same location or through the same delivery mechanism.