FACT CHECK: Has Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker Closed All K-12 Schools For The Rest Of The Year?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered all schools in the state to close for the remainder of the year in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

Verdict: False

Pritzker has only ordered all Illinois schools to close through April 7 at the time of publication.

Fact Check:

In addition to issuing a statewide stay-at-home order, Pritzker has also mandated that all public and private schools in Illinois must remain closed through April 7. That executive order, signed March 20, marks an extension beyond the previously required date of March 30.

The image in the Facebook post was shared on March 27. It cites a local CBS affiliate news station as the source of its claims and purports that Pritzker has barred all schools in the state from opening again for the rest of the year.

“Parents of all K-12 students may decide if they want their child to repeat their current grade or go fourth to the next grade,” the image states. “All graduating classes will still be able to receive a diploma if their parents decide that they shall continue to the next grade.”

Pritzker has not prohibited Illinois schools from reopening before next year, however. No measure to that effect is included in any of the coronavirus-related executive orders he has issued. As of Tuesday morning, Pritzker has only required Illinois schools to remain closed until April 7.

“We have not called off schools for the remainder of the year,” Jordan Abudayyeh, press secretary for Abbott’s office, said in an email to the Daily Caller. (RELATED: Can Inhaling Hot Air From A Sauna Or Hair Dryer Kill Coronavirus?)

The claims that parents of kindergarten through 12th grade students can decide whether or not their child will repeat the current grade level and that all graduating students receive their diplomas if their parents approve of proceeding to the next grade don’t hold up either.

“All those claims are false,” Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) External Communications Director Jackie Matthews told the Caller via email. “ISBE has not issued any guidance yet on changes to state-level graduation requirements. Currently, Illinois school districts utilize locally determined criteria in making decisions on students’ grade level placements.”

The information in the Facebook post also doesn’t appear to have come from any Illinois CBS affiliates, since none have reported measures to that effect. Nor has the national outlet CBS News published any stories about it.

Many school districts across Illinois have already resumed teaching students through internet-based learning programs, according to ABC 7 Chicago.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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