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Pritzker, Education Leaders Introduce 'Act Of God' Days Amid COVID-19 Absences

CHICAGO (CBS) --  With thousands of teachers and education workers out of school over the coronavirus, Illinois Governor JB is instituting so-called "Act of God" days where staff will be paid through March 30.

Starting Tuesday through March 30, all district employees on the payroll will get paid as if the schools were in session. The days will not be made up.

Pritzker released a statement with the Illinois Education Association (IEA), the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), Illinois Principals Association (IPA), and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE.)

"These are unprecedented times, but we are all together with the goal of caring for students. Our organizations are truly inspired by the phenomenal cooperation shown across the state and encourage all of our members to be reasonable, creative, and generous while determining what's best for our students in Illinois."

Also beginning Tuesday, the school districts "can expect employees to participate in work activities in some form." The work and the details of the work for everyone from teachers to classroom assistants "must be worked out through mutual agreement, but negotiations."

According to the news release, the work should focus on (1) continuity of education, (2) provision of meals, and (3) other student support measures as appropriate for each district.

The organizations stressed that the public's health and student safety are the priority and if there's any work that should be done remotely, it should be done that way.

The state's department of public health (IDPH) continues to stress social distancing and limit small group gatherings.


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