Pritzker Says In-Person Classes In Illinois Are Still A Ways Off

ILLINOIS — Students in Illinois would not be returning to in-person instruction anytime soon if it was up to the state’s governor.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during a COVID-19 briefing on Thursday that he is not sure what the positivity testing rate should be before sending all students back into the classroom, but Illinois isn’t near it.

“With regard to what level at which that we would just send every kid back to school, I don’t know what number that should be, but we are a long way from it,” Pritzker said. “There is no region that is even close though.”

Hundreds of Illinois school districts are already offering in-person instruction, but many switched to all remote learning after COVID-19 cases increased in August. Those decisions led some parents to enroll their children in private schools or opt for homeschooling. Just a handful of the 105 school districts in the Chicago suburbs offer in-class learning full-time. Many private schools in Illinois are also offering in-person classes.

The governor has left decisions on in-person instruction up to locally elected school board members.

The governor said that overall, the state is trending in the right direction.

“I’m pleased to say that over the last 7 days, most of our regions have seen a slight decrease in their positivity rates,” Pritzker said.

Two regions remain under more stringent restrictions because of an increase in coronavirus cases: Region 4, which is the Metro East area, and Region 7, which is near Kankakee. The restrictions include a suspension of indoor service at restaurants and bars. Outdoor service is allowed, but must be stopped at 11 p.m. each night.

On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,953 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 28 additional deaths. Statewide, the agency has reported a total of 255,643 cases, including 8,242 deaths.

The Center Square – Kevin Bessler

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