Petition to Adequately Plan For and Commit to Reopening Illinois Schools for Fall 2020

A full, on-time, normal school restart is critical to our state's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In-person classroom instruction is also vital to our children’s educational development and mental well-being.  While online learning has benefits, it is not an effective substitute for classroom learning.

While Governor Pritzker signed an executive order on June 4th allowing for Illinois schools to hold in-person summer school, the order still limits gatherings to ten people or less.  The terms of this executive order do not allow for any semblance of normal school activity. 

Here are just a few of the reasons that school closures hurt our children.  

  • This study projects that students who lacked steady instruction during Spring 2020 school shutdown might retain only 70 percent of their annual reading gains and only 50 percent of their annual math gains compared with a normal year.
  • Some are warning that prolonged school closures will likely have major negative impacts on children’s ability to learn and develop and this is especially true in younger children and lower-income households. 
  • Many low-income families also rely on schools for nutritious meals for their children, and even brief periods of food insecurity can cause long-term developmental, psychological, physical, and emotional harms, some experts say. 
  • Research tells us that chronic absence leads to not only lower reading and math scores, but also weaker social-emotional skills.
  • The CDC has provided guidelines for cleaning before reopening as well as considerations for how to protect students and teachers from COVID-19. 

Opening schools in the fall will come with a unique set of challenges, but the dangers of staying closed far outweigh the difficulties that will come with reopening. 

By signing this petition, you are urging Governor Pritzker to publicly commit, as soon as possible, to a full, normal, in-person reopening of all Illinois schools this fall.  This commitment should be accompanied by a high-priority planning effort led by the Governor and supported by education experts and stakeholders.  

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  • Stephanie Griffin
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