Illinois Schools Closed for Remainder of Academic Year

Holley Law, staff writer

As of Friday, April 17, Governor JB Pritzker announced in his daily Coronavirus conference to the public all schools in Illinois are to be closed for the rest of the 2020 school year. So what does this mean for students and parents or guardians of these children or teenagers and how does it affect learning for students as well?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment. The virus is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose, or mouth.  The virus has caused a stay at home order and interrupted routinely schedules and athletics throughout the world, and social distancing has become the new normals for many. Social distancing means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home, which it has been recommended to stay 6 feet away from another person.

Learning at home has become online or packets which parents pick up for their student, which is called E-learning. There are students who are not completing the assignments as well, which means that it is important that students engage in remote learning because if they are not engaging with the program and continuing their learning they will receive an incomplete for the semester and will have to do the coursework over the summer. Those who are completing the work will move on to the next year. Which leads to the questions of what will seniors in high school do? They will graduate online and those who do not finish the year will take summer school or retake the semester in order to graduate. 

Students not only learn at school but they also connect with friends and enjoy seeing friends at school, which was a daily routine for students. Many students connect with friends at lunch and in classrooms as well. Now that the state has issued a stay at home order for everyone who is not an essential worker many are left at home with unemployment and no one to connect to, which interrupted the daily schedule. JB Pritzker on Friday says that statewide there are  “2 million young people who would meet up with their friends in the classrooms, hallways, during lunch, at sports practices, and for extracurriculars – and then go home to their families, their guardians – seeing whoever they see, and going wherever they go, until the next morning when they do it again.” This routine has brought happiness to students throughout the day as they get to see their friends and be happy at school.  

Extra-curricular activities are canceled as well due to this, end of year dances was canceled as well. Prom was canceled for juniors and seniors and many who play a spring sport did not get the finish their season as all spring sports were canceled even before the stay at home order, as school districts did it for students and staff safety. Many seniors are feeling sad about missing their senior prom, senior pranks, senior nights, and of course, their graduation. Senior year is meant to be the most memorable year. Marianna Ruiz, a senior at Joliet West, says that “Nobody is gonna ever forget the seniors of 2020 and how their year got stripped away from them … This whole pandemic has ruined a lot of memorable opportunities from me and it honestly makes me kinda depressed.” Seniors just want their senior experience and this has caused them to not have some of the most important moments of their lives. 

COVID-19 has caused quite a few problems, so hopefully, people can get back to their daily lives. Also a special thank you to all of our essential workers and teachers who are still working and trying to help others.