Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced this afternoon that school buildings throughout the state will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
The announcement comes about one month since Illinois schools closed their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Campuses previously had been shuttered through April 30.
"My decisions are hard ones," Pritzker said in a press conference this afternoon. "But they will follow the science, and the science says our students can't go back to the normal routine."
The State of Illinois received $569 million through the federal CARES Act. The money will be used to help students access technology, address access programs in rural areas and provide meals for kids.
Pritzker encouraged educators to continue checking in with children, not just for attendance purposes, but to offer support to families during the pandemic.
He also announced plans to modify licensing requirements for future educators who have nearly completed their studies. That will help schools hire the staffers they need when the time comes, he said.
Pritzker said students should be given grades that reflect the unique challenges of the pandemic.
"Grades should deliver feedback and not be used as a tool for compliance," he said.
State of Illinois officials also announced 1,842 new cases of COVID-19 infections, the highest single-day spike in confirmed cases to date. That brings the statewide total to 27,575. The death toll rose by 62, bringing the overall number of deaths to 1,134.
Schools in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin all now will be closed for the rest of the school year following similar announcements by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds this morning and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday.