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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday afternoon that all public and private schools, including Chicago Public Schools, will be closed, starting Tuesday, March 17, until March 30, because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
"I understand the gravity of this action," Pritzker said.
Many schools in northern Illinois had already begun announcing closures and moving to e-learning throughout Friday amid coronavirus concerns.
“We have seen evidence from influenza outbreaks that community mitigation strategies such as school closures will have an effect on decreasing the severity of the outbreak,” said Illinois Department of Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
The state also announced an additional 14 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Among the 14 new cases, nine are Chicago, four Cook County, and one Lake County. New cases being reported Friday range in age from 20s to 90s.
Pritzker's announcement comes a day after he advised event organizers to immediately postpone – or better yet – cancel any events that could attract more than 1,000 people, as a safety measure because of the coronavirus outbreak.