Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker wears a mask while touring one of the patient rooms at the COVID-19 alternate care facility in Hall C at McCormick Place in Chicago, Friday, April 17, 2020.Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker wears a mask while touring one of the patient rooms at the COVID-19 alternate care facility in Hall C at McCormick Place in Chicago, Friday, April 17, 2020. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Schools must follow Illinois Department of Public Health requirements to reopen. Besides face coverings and social distancing, those include prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people, symptom screenings and temperature checks for anyone entering school buildings, and increased cleaning and disinfection. 

After the coronavirus pandemic scrapped the end of the school year for Illinois’ 2 million-plus elementary and high school students, schools can resume in-person classes this fall, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday

The state will provide more than 2.5 million cloth face masks for students to use, under the guidelines issued by Pritzker’s office.

Schools must follow Illinois Department of Public Health requirements to reopen. Besides face coverings and social distancing, those include prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people, symptom screenings and temperature checks for anyone entering school buildings, and increased cleaning and disinfection.

Colleges and universities will also be able to reopen, Pritzker said.

“Classroom learning provides necessary opportunities for our students to learn, socialize, and grow. The benefits of in-person instruction can’t be overstated,” Pritzker said in a statement. “In close consultation with IDPH, infectious disease experts at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and other public health professionals, the guidance focuses on keeping students, teachers and families healthy and safe. It recognizes that Illinois is a diverse state, and school districts and institutions of higher education across Illinois will face unique challenges in how they’ll operate within their communities.”

The Democratic governor first shut down schools across the state in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the state.

The plan to reopen them was announced as the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the latest 38 deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 601 new cases of the disease confirmed across the state.

A total of 6,707 people have died in Illinois over the last three months, among the 137,825 who have tested positive for the virus overall.

But cases have been falling for five straight weeks, Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

“These actions have given Illinois a leg up against this virus,” she said.

Read the full school reopening guidelines here:

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