As we deal with the omicron surge, we are seeing wide variations in the covid testing procedures happening at schools around the state. IDPH began funding the University of Illinois’s SHIELD saliva testing for some schools last spring and expanded it to all schools in August 2021. Last fall additional capacity was added through a federal program. Chicago Public Schools, however, is using other federal covid relief funds to implement testing separately.Read more
A lot happened over the weekend that impacts school reopening plans for K-8th grade in Chicago Public Schools. Teachers were supposed to be back in the building today but the district delayed this until Wednesday for K-8th grade as the Chicago Teachers Union and CPS negotiate over a list of demands regarding safety measures. CPS says that the start date for K-8 in person learning will still be 2/1, but the CTU took a vote to support a resolution to reject in person learning at this time with 71% supporting the resolution.Read more
The General Assembly is back in session tomorrow in Springfield. This is likely to be a whirlwind three-day session covering a very barebones legislative agenda compared to a normal spring. (Politico shared this list of bills/topics on Tuesday.)
And, unfortunately, other than the state budget for Fiscal Year 2021, it's likely that not that much directly relevant for K-12 schools will be tackled.
Public schools are playing a vital role in helping families through the current crisis and in the recovery period to come. The pandemic and school closures have made it clearer than ever that public schools are the center of our communities and our children’s education.Read more
Forty-three states, including Illinois, have closed K-12 schools for the remainder of the year. Mass closures and a sudden switch to crisis schooling from a distance have prompted reflections on the crucial role of schools for children and communities. It’s also prompted speculation about what changes might take place longer term as a result of the closings and the pandemic.
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With over two million K-12 students' public schools closed due to COVID-19, there are a number of ways in which families across Illinois are being impacted by the pandemic. We’d like to highlight a few and share an action step you might want to take.Read more
With the mass school closures due to COVID-19, there has been a sudden shift to crisis schooling via remote learning, and in the wake of this existing student data privacy concerns about education technology have ballooned.
Unfortunately, in many cases, parents’ need and desire to protect their children’s privacy has been put in direct conflict with how schools are attempting to provide a substitute for education away from the physical classroom.Read more
As families across Illinois cope with adapting to life and learning during the Covid-19 epidemic, we were contacted by a group of parents and community members in Waukegan who are going through a particularly difficult struggle with their district.Read more
“The unprecedented shutdown of public and private schools in dozens of states last week has illuminated one easily forgotten truism about schools: They are an absolute necessity for the functioning of civic culture, and even more fundamentally than that, daily life.
Schools are the centers of communities. They provide indispensible student-welfare services, like free meals, health care, and even dentistry. They care for children while parents work. And all those services do much to check the effects of America’s economically stratified systems of employment and health care on young students.” --When Schools Shut Down, We All Lose Education Week March 20, 2020.