Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has declared that all schools will remain close across the state for the remainder of the spring term Friday. This decision comes after Illinois registered its largest one-day increase in new cases of COVID-19. Pritzker addressed at the daily coronavirus briefing at the Thompson Center in Chicago.
He acknowledged that the school routine is “a source of joy for so many” students and educators. However, he added, “it also opens up an almost limitless opportunity for potential COVID-19 infection.” The governor said, “The science says our students can’t go back to their normal routine. Therefore I am suspending in-person learning in schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.”
Since March 17, the schools have remained closed. Remote learning arrangements were made by districts and colleges across the state. Those arrangements will remain at the end of the school year. Pritzker said that he felt for all the people affected by the decision, especially the parents, as he said, I promise you, you will get through this.”
He also referred to the seniors and said, “You will get through this too … and you will go on to do amazing things.” The governor is open to some sort of commemoration for graduates. He acknowledged to what the students are feeling as he said, “The hard things we did get through we learned from, and you’re going to learn from this.”
Pritzker’s decision couldn’t be argued as on a day that saw the state post its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases: 1,842, bringing the Illinois total to 27,575. The state’s death toll reached 1,134. Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, “The science does show that social distancing works, and I hope people remember this and take it to heart.” She added, “We won’t abandon all the good that we’ve done.”