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Governor Pritzker’s Message to Students: It’s OK To Be Sad

Pritzker reached out to students to let them know it's OK to be sad or frustrated as they miss classes and milestones like prom. "Don't beat yourself up over being human," he said.

Governor J.B. Pritzker answers questions at a press conference on the updates about COVID-19 in Illinois on Friday, March 20, 2020 in Chicago.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Students will be out of school across Illinois at least through April 30.

And Gov. JB Pritzker had a message to the children of the state: It’s OK if the closures make you sad.

Pritzker, speaking during his Tuesday coronavirus briefing, announced he would extend the state’s stay at home order. That means non-essential businesses and schools will remain closed through at least April 30.

That’s tough for children and teens who were looking forward to things like prom, graduation or even just hanging out with friends in school hallways, Pritzker acknowledged.

“I won’t try and tell you not to be sad about the lost goals and plans you may have had for March and April. It’s OK to be sad,” Pritzker said. “And if you do feel sad, or frustrated or angry, whatever you feel, please let yourself feel that way. Don’t beat yourself up over being human.

“And if you’re experiencing overwhelming anxiety or you have a friend who is and you need someone to talk to, there are resources available to you through phone or online through both ISBE and our Department of Human Services as well as the city of Chicago.”

But the state’s children should look around them for inspiration and to see how they can get involved, Pritzker said. It’s likely people from their school community are helping in the fight against coronavirus, he said, and students should join those efforts.

“Once you’re ready, take a look around. Take in the incredibly unique moment you’re living in. Yes, it’s scary and it’s uncertain and it’s difficult,” Pritzker said. “But if you’re looking for a lesson in the fundamental goodness in people and your community, it’s right there in front of you.”

At another point, Pritzker added, “It’s not the school year you bargained for, and I’m terribly sorry for that. But amidst these dire circumstances I want you to know there’s plenty of people to learn from; there’s plenty of reasons to hope.

“And if all else fails, I’ve heard that Where’s Lightfoot? meme page is” funny.

Schools across the state have been closed since March 17.

Remote learning begins April 13 for Chicago Public Schools.

Those with questions and concerns about coronavirus can call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 800-889-3931.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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