On June 4, Governor JB Pritzker entered Executive Order 2020-40 which permits schools serving K-12 students to open for limited in-person educational purposes, including summer school, after the completion of the regular 2019-2020 school year. During Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois Plan, schools “must follow IDPH guidance” and “take proactive measures to ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors, including, but not limited to:

“Limiting the number of people in one space to ten or fewer, consistent with public health guidance.

“Ensuring compliance with social distancing requirements to the greatest extent possible. For purposes of this Executive Order, social distancing includes maintaining at least six-foot distance from other individuals and discouraging physical contact between individuals.

“Ensuring appropriate hygienic practices, including washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), discouraging the sharing of personal items, and regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces.

“Requiring the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, including the use of face coverings by students, staff, and visitors who are over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering. Schools must provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain a minimum six-foot social distance at all times and, to the extent possible, make disposable face coverings available for all students.”

IDPH has not yet posted its guidance applicable to schools in-person education during Phase 3.

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...