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On April 30, 2020, the Governor issued another executive order (2020-32) that, in part, opened up school buildings to allow for the pickup of student belongings. Executive Order 2020-32 can be read here. It also contains a number of other requirements and expands the type of businesses that can reopen for work, although schools have always been authorized to operate for “essential” functions. In relevant part, the order states that:

  • “Any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering (a mask or cloth face-covering) shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain a six-foot social distance.  Face-coverings are required in public indoor spaces such as stores.”  Section 1.1
  • “All businesses must evaluate which employees are able to work from home, and are encouraged to facilitate remote work from home when possible.  All businesses that have employees physically reporting to a work-site must post the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 emergency.  The guidance will be posted on the IDPH webpage.”  Section 1.5.  The IDPH workplace guidance page is here. It should be posted at every worksite where employees are physically reporting.
  • “Educational institutions may allow and establish procedures for pick-up of necessary supplies and/or student belongings and dormitory move-out if conducted in a manner consistent with public health guidelines, including Social Distancing Requirements.”  Section 2.12.j

In addition, there are specifics regarding “Social Distancing, Face Covering, and PPE Requirements.” Section 2.15 states:

“For purposes of this Executive Order, Social Distancing Requirements includes maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.

  1. Required measures. Essential Businesses and Operations and businesses engaged in Minimum Basic Operations must take proactive measures to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements, including where possible:
    1. Designate six-foot distances.  Designating with signage, tape, or by other means six-foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain appropriate distance;
    2. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products. Having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers;
    3. Separate operating hours for vulnerable populations.  Implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers; and
    4. Online and remote access.  Posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely.
    5. Face Coverings and PPE.  Providing employees with appropriate face coverings and requiring that employees wear face coverings where maintaining a six-foot social distance is not possible at all times. When the work circumstances require, providing employees with other PPE in addition to face coverings.”

As you may know, school districts are already making arrangements for the gathering of student belongings.  Some districts are having the classroom teachers do this, as they are the most familiar with students’ desks and cubbies or lockers. Others are relying upon support staff or custodial staff. Additionally, a formal plan for the parents to pick up these belongings will be necessary. Decisions on how to best proceed with these tasks will vary depending on the unique nature of each district, school building, and community. Students, parents, and guardians should watch for direction from their district, if not already received, and plan accordingly.

The attorneys at Whitt Law LLC are advising clients regarding the requirements of Executive Order 2020-32 discussed above, as well as the union implications this planning may have. Please contact Whitt Law Senior Attorney Brian R. Bare with any questions you may have about Executive Order 2020-32.