State allows summer school openings, opens testing to everyone

State allows summer school openings, opens testing to everyone

Those who attended rallies are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19

Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Summer schools can open with safety guidelines in place and state-run COVID-19 testing sites are now open to everyone.

The state made the latest two announcements as it encouraged anyone who has recently attended a mass protest to get tested for novel coronavirus disease.

“As we move forward, COVID-19 testing must be widely available and this is a step in that direction,” Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said in a news release. “The state-operated community-based testing sites currently have the capacity to test more than 6,000 people per day, and now there will be no restrictions to who can be tested for this potentially deadly virus.”

Testing will be crucial as the state moves toward full reopening, the agency said in a news release.

Part of that reopening will include summer school for Pre-K to 12th grade students at public and non-public schools. The governor authorized reopening, effective Thursday, in an executive order, his 38th since the start of the pandemic.

Specific guidelines for reopening schools include limiting the number of people in one place to 10 or fewer, ensuring compliance with social distancing requirements and discouraging physical contact, ensuring appropriate hygiene practices such as washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes, and requiring the use of face coverings.

Students, staff and visitors must wear face coverings, and schools must make disposable face coverings available to students who are over the age of two and medically able to wear such a covering.

The Illinois State Board of Education said in a guidance document it “would like to make clear that while Phase 3 allows for the resumption of face-to-face instruction, this is not the same as a return to pre-pandemic operations.”

“Extensive social distancing measures, enhanced sanitation measures, and other accommodations will be necessary to ensure the safety of students, staff, and their families,” according to the 29-page guidance document.

The announcement comes as the state reported another 929 cases of the virus and 116 deaths, pushing the number of confirmed cases in Illinois to 124,759 cases, including 5,736 deaths. The recovery rate for those 42 days removed from a positive test is 92 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

There have been 982,016 tests performed in the state, including 22,841 results reported in the previous 24 hours, meaning the number of tests coming back positive was just more than 4 percent over that span. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate from May 28 to June 3 is 6 percent. Those numbers must remain below 20 percent for the state to move forward with its reopening plan.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital beds decreased to 3,044 as of midnight Thursday, while the number in intensive care unit beds grew by nine to 853 and ventilator use grew by eight to 516. All remain in a downward trend.

The IDPH has warned, however, that recent protests could lead to an uptick in virus numbers.

“As people gather in large crowds with varying degrees of social distancing, there is cause for concern about COVID-19 spread and outbreaks, especially if masks were not worn universally,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a news release Thursday. “I urge anyone who recently attended a rally, protest, or other mass gathering to get tested for COVID-19 so we can identify any cases early.  We recommend testing 5-7 days after participating in large group rallies, or immediately if symptoms develop. If there are known cases, we can make sure those people are quarantined and not exposing other individuals.”

No appointment, doctor referral, or insurance is needed at state operated drive-thru sites and testing is available at no cost to the individual. A list of public and private testing sites can be found on the IDPH website at

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.


Jerry Nowicki

Jerry NowickiJerry Nowicki

Jerry has more than five years of experience in and around state government and nearly 10 years of experience in news. He grew up in south suburban Evergreen Park and received a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and a master’s degree online from Purdue University.

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