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Governor ask that Illinois schools close until March 31

Earlier today, Illinois announced all schools K-12, both public and private in the state, will be closed through March 30 starting next Tuesday, March 17.

A little more than 24 hours before the governor's announcement, St. Joseph-Ogden CHSD #305 superintendent Brian Brooks sent a letter to parents outlining the districts plan to remain open, but to cancel extra-curricular events and field trip as of yesterday until Sunday, April 5.

In the statement from Brooks, he shared that SJO has begin working on an E-Plan for online/remote teaching should the governor is forced to extend the term of the closure in the interest of public safety and health. The Illinois State Board of Education is working with lawmakers to create a waiver system in order to expedite approval for schools in a similar situation that did not submit a plan at the beginning of the year for E-Learning.

Pritzker ordered the closing of every school in the state until March 30 starting Tuesday amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus pandemic. The number of confirmed cases in Illinois rose to 46 earlier today.

"All of these choices have cascading effects for citizens and vulnerable populations when it comes to food access, safety, childcare, and social services," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement earlier today. "We’ve seen what happens in places that didn’t move with urgency. I ask all of you not to hesitate to do the right thing for your family, your friends, and your community. One small step at a time, we will get through this together."

The state's chief lawmaker hopes that social-distancing will slow the spread of the virus.

Almost two million students will not be returning to classrooms next week. This also means no practices for sport teams, practice for scholastic and performing arts groups and the postponement of meetings normally held on high school campuses around the state.

Other states and large cities around the country have announced school shutdowns this week over to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. DC, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin have closed schools for until the end of the month or longer.

Earlier in the week, the governor called on the public to call off any event or gathering of 250 people or more. He also asked that all events with one thousand or more people in attendance be canceled or postponed immediately.

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