COVID-19 Update: In-person schooling suspended in Illinois through end of year

Governor J.B. Pritzker suspended in-person learning in Illinois schools for the remainder of the school year during his daily coronavirus press briefing Friday afternoon.

The suspension of in-class learning comes as a result of the 27,575 reported cases of coronavirus in Illinois and 1,072 total deaths across the state. 1,842 new cases of the virus were announced Friday, marking the state’s most significant single-day spike since the arrival of the pandemic.

Although the state is set to enter its fourth week of a stay-at-home order, the governor expressed that the challenges of canceling in-person learning “weighed heavily on me as we came to this decision.”

“I’ve said time and time again, our decisions are hard ones, but they follow the science — and the science says our students can’t go back to their normal routine,” Pritzker said. “I know that many have felt this was inevitable – but trust me when I say, this was not a decision I made lightly.”
Many districts across the state plan to continue with e-learning until the end of the school year, including Unit 5. In an announcement featured on the Unit 5 website, the Board of Education said that “we know that this decision will cause a great deal of concern and disappointment for our students, staff, and families. We share your sadness, but know we will get through this together.” The district also announced that “decisions about many things, including activities and events that would have normally taken place at the end of the year, will be made in the coming days.”

With many questions surrounding the timeline of the pandemic remain unanswered, Pritzker remains hopeful that the state will overcome the challenges that have interfered with the daily lives of all Illinois residents, especially students.

“To children of all ages – this is a very strange moment that you’re living in,” Pritzker said. “You’re going to see what it looks like when the world comes together, and what it looks like to put your faith in science, and research, and the teams of people here in Illinois and beyond who are working on treatments and vaccines to save lives. We will get to their other side of this, and that other side will be a place that appreciates the best of the before, but with a greater sense of compassion and connection. And the best part is that you are going to be the ones guiding us forward. All of you, with your creativity, your passion, and your care for others are going to shape our future. Let me be the first to say, I can’t wait to see all that you accomplish.”