Keeping safe in Phase 4; A talk with local superintendents

Staying safe as Illinois re-opens

I was very glad to see Illinois move forward to Phase 4 of the re-opening plan over the weekend. It was nice to see businesses and other places able to re-open and people able to get back to work. Now it is up to each of us to make sure that those doors are able to stay open. Other states have seen rises in coronavirus cases after re-opening in recent weeks. We all need to do our part to make sure that does not happen here.

Keep washing your hands just as frequently as you did back in the spring when this all began. Stay away from crowded areas, maintain six feet of social distancing, stay home if you feel sick and cover your coughs and sneezes. We all heard this advice months ago as the outbreak was beginning to spread in Illinois, and it remains just as critical now. The last thing we want to do is get more people sick and take a step backward. It is up to all of us to keep our communities safe.

Join us for a discussion with local superintendents about re-opening schools

Join us on Thursday at 5 p.m. for a live online discussion with some of our local school superintendents as they work on getting students safely back in school this fall. Superintendent Brian Dukes of Pontiac District 429, Eureka District 140 Superintendent Bob Bardwell and Dr. Crystal Johnson, Superintendent of Rossville-Alvin Elementary District CUSD 7 will be on hand to talk about what local school districts are doing to get ready to re-open schools this fall in the wake of coronavirus. The Illinois State Board of Education and the Department of Public Health recently issued guidelines to help schools with the re-opening.

Visit my Facebook page for more information.

Be safe with fireworks this year

Last year in Illinois 126 people were injured and one person was killed by fireworks in the weeks surrounding the 4th of July. The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is reminding Illinoisans to use caution with fireworks this year. The OSFM reminds everyone that “fireworks are dangerous and should only be used by someone who has a permit and the proper training. Consumer Fireworks should only be purchased from a reputable Fireworks Retailer establishment or Fireworks Stand registered with the OSFM.”

For more about fireworks safety, click here.

Illinois casinos and video gaming locations to re-open tomorrow

Tomorrow will be re-opening day for Illinois casinos and some video-gaming locations. Casino operators have been working with the Illinois Gaming Board to enhance safety once their doors open. They have adapted the casino floors to the requirements of social distancing, placing machines six feet apart or powering down those which cannot be moved.

Video gaming locations will re-open subject to the health orders in place in the community where they are located. Like many other businesses, some of these re-opened locations will have impermeable screens in place and will be frequently cleaned and disinfected. Food lines and buffets will remain closed.

More news from around the state

The latest update from the Department of Public Health

Public Health guidance for swimming facilities

10 ways Illinois schools will look different this fall

Tax filing help available for Illinois seniors

CBS: Small towns may have “a longer road ahead” in economic recovery from the pandemic

Department of Agriculture announces dates for junior livestock and horse shows

For additional helpful resources, click here.

For continually updated news from state agencies, visit: or my website at and click on COVID-19 Info. Persons with coronavirus questions or concerns should call the statewide toll-free coronavirus hotline at 1-800-889-3931. You can also submit questions via e-mail at

My district offices remain closed to in-person visits, but are still accessible by phone at (815) 432-0106 (Watseka) and (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac).