Pritzker closes Illinois schools for rest of academic year

(NEWS3) — Students in Illinois will not be returning to the classroom this school year due to COVID-19.

This comes after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced all schools statewide will be closed for the remainder of this academic year.

More than two million Illinois students have been out of school since the middle of March.

The state ordered all Illinois schools to start remote learning in March. Now, those plans will stay in effect.

Pritzker’s stay-at-home order was supposed to expire April 7 but the governor extended the order until April 30. There is no word if he will extend the order again.

The state has 27,575 coronavirus cases, including 1,134 deaths, in 92 counties as of Friday.

“I’m confident that our schools will expand the education opportunities for our students over the next few weeks,” Pritzker said. “Schools should still be checking in with their students each day. My heart is with the teachers who did not get to say goodbye to their students.”

During his daily update, Pritzker sent a heartfelt message to the seniors graduating high school.

“I know you are feeling sad about missing the rituals like missing prom and senior pranks,” Pritzker said. “There is room for you to feel sad about those things. You will talk about this for the rest of your life. You will go on to do amazing things.”

Below are current COVID-19 test results in surrounding counties around the NEWS3 viewing area:

  • McDonough County: 3 positive, 58 negative, 8 pending
  • Schuyler County: 1 positive, 16 negative, 2 pending
  • Hancock County: 3 positive, 43 negative, 11 pending
  • Warren County: 3 positive, 15 negative, 0 pending
  • Fulton County: 1 positive, 46 negative, 3 pending
  • Knox County: 4 positive, 120 negative, 17 pending
  • Adams County: 29 positive, 349 negative, 46 pending

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Western Illinois University canceled its commencement ceremonies scheduled for this spring. The school is now trying to plan alternatives such as a virtual ceremony and host an in-person graduation for a later date, but there is no official word.

WIU announced Friday, all summer school classes will be conducted online in a remote format.