Noting increased rates of vaccinations and reduced COVID-19 positivity rates, State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) and Rep. Lance Yednock (D-Ottawa) sent a letter to Gov. JB Pritzker requesting his administration release updated guidance to allow for graduation ceremonies.
As most schools now are in the latter half of their spring semesters, administrations are working to plan for what type of commencement ceremonies they will be able to provide.
“Many schools have now been open for the majority of the school year with little to no issues,” Barickman said. “Schools that can hold graduation ceremonies safely should be allowed to, but they need guidance now so that they have time to plan.”
The legislators’ letter comes after numerous school districts across Illinois have called on the state to update its guidance on school gatherings.
The Class of 2020 lost many of their last few months of high school education including proms, time with friends and most of all graduation. The legislators hope this won’t be the same for the Class of 2021.
The lawmakers say the individual schools ability to decide whether or not to hold in-person learning, but does not give them control to offer any type of traditional graduation ceremonies, even with substantial safety precautions.
The legislators noted Illinois having its lowest COVID-19 positivity rate since June 2020 and the rate of thousands of vaccines administered daily as signs the state is trending in the right direction.
They urge Pritzker to consider updating the graduation-related protocols quickly to help give school administrations the time and ability to safely plan a graduation for students.