CHICAGO (CBS) — In Rockford to highlight educational resources for families across the state, Governor JB Pritzker said the pandemic had an effect on the state’s school children that has yet to be completely measured.
“We’re all wondering if this was a lost year for many children,” Pritzker said. “We worry about how living through this pandemic will impact their future.”
The governor credited President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan to improve the educational system hit hard by the pandemic.
“We have an unparalleled opportunity to revitalize learning and teaching for students and educators, an opportunity to address learning loss, and make the years ahead so much better with significant investments that were otherwise out of reach,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker said the state’s P-20 Council Plan is set up to help families and educators with resources with issues that have come up during remote learning throughout the pandemic with the Illinois Learning Renewal Resource Guide.
“Guidance for navigating this long period of disruption,” Pritzker said. “Things like tutoring and counseling, and investing in mental health.”
The governor said there are four new initiatives at the state level.
“High impact tutoring with a focus on aligning personalized learning with classroom instruction throughout the school year, and during the summer, social and emotional learning,” Pritzker said, adding that one of the partners includes the Center for Childhood resilience at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
“Interim assessment guidance so that educators can better target students needs without holding the assessment results over anyone’s head,” Pritzker said. “Bridge and transition support to encourage enrollment of young children in early childhood programs and assist high school students with their journey into higher education.”
The governor said these initiatives were put in place for students, their families and teachers, because everyone experienced the jarring changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The last year, no doubt has been extraordinarily difficult for everyone. Teachers worked tirelessly to adapt to remote learning. Parents gave their all to guiding their children through challenges, they never saw coming,” Pritzker said. “And of course our kids watched their day-to-day routines get usurped by a pandemic, a truly traumatic experience for any adult to have to navigate, let alone a child.”
Pritzker said that despite mass vaccination efforts across the state, it’s unclear when a full reopening of all the schools in the state would be decided.
“We’ve set metrics at the IDPH, the (Illinois) Department of Public Health, those metrics include getting a certain number of people with vaccinated in the state that half the people of the state vaccinated, adults in the state. On top of that, making sure that looking at to isolation periods of 28 days,” Pritzker said, who added that this is set up to make sure evidence doesn’t show that numbers are rising again.
“Essentially, that we don’t have a rising number of hospitalizations, rising number of people going into ICU beds, that it’s stable or heading downward,” Pritzker said. “Unfortunately, the number of hospitalizations is increasing the number of cases of people going into ICU beds is increasing. And that’s of great concern to us. So we want to make sure that before we reopen any further in the state that we get that under control.”