Restore Illinois Guidance for Schools

By Brian Schwartz posted 9 days ago


Updated July 1, 2020 at 9:51 am

Effective June 26, all regions in Illinois will move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan.

Phase 4 allows schools to provide in person instruction, but: (1) requires use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings; (2) prohibits more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space; (3) requires social distancing be observed, as much as possible; (4) requires that schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and, (5) requires an increase in schoolwide cleaning and disinfection.

For ISBE Part 3 Transition Guidance, click HEREISBE Webinar Presentation - ISBE Webinar Recording - FAQs

For specific information on Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan, click HERE

For the Initial Planning Framework from IPA, IASA, and IASBO, click HERE.

For webinar, Making Hard Choices: Readjusting Your Curriculum for Reopening School, with Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs, click HERE.

For IPA Remote Learning Resources, click

For thoughts on nurturing staff and community culture, click HERE.

For staff and parent planning surveys, click HERE.

For Mental Health Supports, click HERE

For additional COVID-19 Information:
CDC Guidance for Schools, Daycares, and Youth Programs
Ed Week Coverage of COVID-19 and Schools

Below are frequently asked questions and answers to school building-level issues.


Under Phase 4 are individuals in a school building required to wear a face covering?

Yes.  As required by the Illinois Department of Public Health, except when eating and during band, face coverings must be worn at all times in school buildings, even when social distancing is maintained.  All individuals in a school building must wear face coverings, unless they have a medical contraindication, are under 2 years of age, have trouble breathing or are unable to remove the face covering without assistance.

Is there guidance on the requirement that school districts conduct symptom checks?

Schools and districts must conduct temperature and symptom screenings or require self-certification and verification for all staff, students, and visitors entering school buildings. Individuals who have a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit / 38 degrees Celsius or currently known symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle and body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, may not enter buildings. Individuals who exbibit symptoms should be referred to a medical provider for evaluation, treatment, and information about when they can return to school.

Can schools and districts utilize self-certification to verify that individuals in a school building are symptom free?

Yes. Schools and districts can require individuals to self-certify that they are fever and symptom free before entering a school building, in lieu of conducting symptom and
temperature checks at the school building. Self-certification could consist of a simple electronic form that an individual must complete on each day that they will enter a school
building. A self-certification may not be completed at the beginning of the year for the entire year.

Are face coverings required when individuals are outside?

Face coverings are not required outside if social distancing can be maintained.

What are the requirements for student transportation on a school bus?

Districts are encouraged to survey parents to determine need to student transportation.  No more than 50 individuals may be on a bus at one time and a face covering must be worn by all individuals on a bus, unless they meet on of the face-covering exceptions.

Regarding capacity limits, what does "one space" mean?

One space includes one bus, one classroom, one area of a hallway, and one gymnasium.  Capacity limits do not apply to an entire school building.

How should schools and districts handle individuals who refuse to wear face coverings?

It is recommended that schools and districts update policies to require the wearing a face covering while in school buildings and handle violations in the same manner as other
similar policy violations.

Can individuals in a school building wear a face shield instead of a face covering?  Updated 6-30-20

According to IDPH, face shields have not been deemed effective for source control and are only to be used when other methods of protection are not available or appropriate. In cases where individuals need facial visualization for instruction and communication, IDPH recommends video instruction to promote social distancing. If video is instruction is not available or appropriate, face shields may be used. Heightened attention and adherence to 6-foot social distancing is critical for individuals using face shields. Examples of limited situations when face shields may be necessary, if video instruction is not possible, include for teachers of English Learners or world languages, whose students may need to see their mouths form words to facilitate language acquisition.

In cases where individuals have a medical contraindication to using face coverings, face shields may be utilized, understanding their limitations and the heightened need for strict adherence to social distancing. ISBE recommends that schools review information, such as a physician’s note, documenting the medical contraindication for any individual who is not able to wear a face covering.

Can parents opt-in to full remote instruction for students?

This is a local decision.  ISBE recommends that districts include a policy in their Remote or Blended Remote Learning Plan.  School districts should also consider planning for remote instruction for students who are medically fragile, at higher risk of severe illness, or who live with individuals at higher risk of severe illness.  Students receiving remote instruction count as present for attendance purposes.

What are the requirements for remote learning plans and blended remote learning plans?

School districts have considerable autonomy in developing remote and blended remote learning plans. In accordance with State law, each remote and blended remote learning day plan must address the following: (i) accessibility of the remote instruction to all students enrolled in the district; (ii) if applicable, a requirement that the remote learning day and blended remote learning day activities reflect State learning standards; (iii) a means for students to confer with an educator, as necessary; (iv) the unique needs of students in special populations, including, but not limited to, students eligible for special education, students who are English learners, students experiencing homelessness, and vulnerable student populations; (v) how the district will take attendance and monitor and verify each student's remote participation; and (vi) transitions from remote learning to on-site learning upon the State Superintendent's declaration that remote learning days or blended remote learning days are no longer deemed necessary.

Is a school required to transition to remote instruction if an individual who was in the building tests positive for COVID-19?

No. Only those individuals with close contact with someone who tested positive or who is suspected of having COVID-19 are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. The school
should provide remote instruction to students who are self-quarantining, if they are well enough to engage in learning. Teachers and staff who are self-quarantining may continue
to work remotely if they are well enough to do so.

What is considered “close contact”?

Close contact means the individual was within 6 feet of the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 or is suspected of having COVID-19 infection for more than 15 minutes.

What is the procedure if a student were to show symptoms mid-day?

Schools should provide a supervised quarantine space for students/staff who are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms and may be awaiting evaluation and/or pickup.
Students must never be left alone and must supervised at all times while maintaining necessary precautions within the quarantine space. Judgment of nursing professionals or
the administrator/designee (in the absence of a nurse) must determine who is placed in the quarantine space and the level of supervision (e.g., supervised by nurse or unlicensed
personnel) required for persons within the quarantine space.

What are the requirements for behind the wheel instruction during Phase 4?

The following procedures must be followed: (1) only two students and one instructor per vehicle; (2) face coverings must be worn, unless medically contraindicated; (3) eating and drinking in the vehicle is prohibited; (4) windows should be open whenever possible; (5) refrain from making any stops during the training that are not applicable to driver’s education to reduce the amount of time in the vehicle; (6) complete hand hygiene with soap and water or hand sanitizer, as appropriate, before and after driving and, at the minimum, upon completion; (7) hand sanitizer should be placed in each vehicle; (8) before and between use, school staff should clean and disinfect the steering wheel, door handles, seatbelt fastener, controls/dials that the driver would come in contact with, like keys; and (9) regular routine cleaning and disinfecting of the seats should be done.


What resources are available for families to assist with remote instruction?

ISBE has put together a comprehensive resource to share with families regarding remote learning. To access this resource, click HERE.

Are DCFS mandated reporting requirements in effect during remote learning?

Yes. For more information on student wellness and DCFS reporting obligations, click HERE.


For additional federal guidance, click HERE.

For additional Illinois guidance, click HERE.  Updated 7-1-20


When can schools resume athletic participation?

The Illinois High School Association’s Medicine Advisory Committee and the Illinois Department of Public Health have released Stage 1 Return to Play Guidelines. High schools located in Phase 3 regions may choose to allow workouts to begin on June 6. For more information, click HERE.

What should be done to the extent that the mandates from the Illinois Department of Public Health conflict with guidance from IHSA?

Schools and school districts are required to follow mandates from the Illinois Department of Public Health.


Is the license renewal deadline extended for PELs that expire on June 30, 2020?

Yes, all licenses issued by the State Board of Education that expire on June 30, 2020 and have not been renewed by the end of the 2020 renewal period shall be extended for one year and shall expire on June 30, 2021.  Individuals will be required to complete the Administrator Academy requirement during the one year extension.

How will teacher candidates complete their student teaching requirement if remote or blended learning continues this fall?

Teacher candidates will be able to complete their required student teaching or equivalent experience remotely.

If I was not able to complete a teacher evaluation this year, what is the teacher’s final summative rating?

Teachers who did not receive an evaluation default to proficient. However, if an evaluation was not completed for a tenured teacher and that teacher received an “excellent” summative rating on his or her last evaluation, the teacher will default to “excellent.”

What happens to a remediation plan for an unsatisfactory teacher?

Remediation plans are suspended during remote learning. Except if the parties mutually agree otherwise and the agreement is in writing, any remediation plan that had been in place for more than 45 days prior to the suspension of in-person instruction shall resume when in-person instruction resumes and any remediation plan that had been in place for fewer than 45 days prior to the suspension of in-person instruction shall be discontinued and a new remediation period shall begin when in-person instruction resumes. The requirements of this paragraph apply regardless of whether they are included in a school district's teacher evaluation plan.

What are the requirements for new professional staff members who have just graduated from an educator preparation program?

For most programs, including teacher preparation programs, the student teaching and internship requirements are waived for new graduates. However, licensure tests, endorsement tests and other qualification tests are not waived. New graduates who are not able to take the applicable licensure, endorsement or other qualification test due to COVID-19 can apply to the Illinois State Board of Education for a “Short Term Approval.”



20 days ago

Hi, Michael, I'm not aware of any specific research, but I do know some districts are strongly considering temperature checks every morning.

20 days ago

Is there research for or against the use of temp/symptom screening before entering a bus or school facility?