This week Illinois officials have released guidelines for students to return to classrooms this fall, including face coverings, social distancing and limits on the number of people in a gathering.
This follows a trend across the nation of states beginning to consider what the fall may look like for public schools. Of course many grow concerned as these plans develop, especially considering the surge in coronavirus cases in the United States is being driven largely by states that were among the first to ease virus restrictions as they moved to reopen their economies.
Many feel that regulations and guidelines don’t go far enough to confirm that students will be safe in a school environment.
Many workers count on public schooling as a way to provide a place for their kids to go throughout the workday, and as such keeping schools closed puts a unique strain on the working class. With the unknowns of the coronavirus pandemic, many feel the risk isn’t worth reopening the economy to that degree.
Teachers especially have been outspoken in their disinterest in reopening schools. Throughout the country Teachers’ Unions have spoken out against the reopening of schools, citing safety concerns and increased costs amidst pandemic conditions that would put strain on an already underfunded budget.
School districts will come up with their own plans before in-person instruction can resume. Here are updates from Chicago’s suburbs.
In June Pritzker released his most recent plans for reopening,but his plan left many unanswered questions as parents continue to wonder what school will look like across Illinois this fall.
The plan calls for the use of face coverings and suggests social distancing “as much as possible.” It also limits the number of people gathering in one place to under 50, requests increased schoolwide cleaning and disinfection as well as symptom screening and temperature checks for people entering schools.
It will up be up to each of the 852 school districts to develop their own reopening plans before in-person instruction resumes. That means some districts could opt to continue online learning, but Chicago Public Schools have yet to make a statement publicly either way.
Daniel Johanson (he/him) is a journalist and digital media specialist living in Chicago, Illinois. He serves as Editor-in-Chief at Scapi and in that capacity manages all things content, including writing and editing articles and producing digital content. His most recent work includes the docuseries Heart of a Nation: Tracking Socialism in the Midwest and co-hosting the podcast Scapi Radio. He spends his free time with cats.