Too Young to Test bill keeps on moving; Covid mitigation now up to districts alone
Too Young to Test bill through committee!
The Too Young to Test bill kept moving forward this past week. It passed in committee in the IL House on Wednesday evening, with the hard work of chief sponsor Rep Lindsey LaPointe and heartfelt speeches from Representatives Sue Scherer and Cyril Nichols about the damage high-stakes testing has done to children.
With the Senate version passing in committee the previous week, both bills could have a floor vote in their respective chamber any day once ILGA returns to Springfield on Tuesday.Read more
Testing bills in hearing this week; Child tax credit for IL; Mask chaos in IL schools
Updates on standardized testing bills in hearing in the House this week, HB 5285 and HB 5149; expanding the Earned Income Credit and creating a Child Tax Credit to make IL's tax structure less regressive; what's happening with the mask mandate lawsuit and its impact on schools.Read more
Ruling issued on mask & other covid mitigation mandates in IL schools: What's next? - Una decisión temporal sobre el caso sobre máscaras y otros mandatos de mitigación de Covid en las escuelas de IL: ¿Qué sigue?
(Español sigue abajo)
Last night the judge in the covid-mitigation measures in schools case issued two rulings. The first was on class certification, whether the lawsuits could become class action suits on behalf of not just the plaintiffs, but all members of the class (the class of parents of school students and the class of school employees). This wasn’t granted (at least for now). The judge acknowledged that there is not a uniform class that wants covid mitigation measures like masks in schools lifted. Last month our director Cassie Creswell submitted a declaration as part of the lawsuit in opposition to the class certification. You can read it here.
The second ruling was not good news for public health and public schools, certainly in the short term and possibly longer. The judge granted a temporary injunction on the rules from the IL Department of Public Health and the IL State Board of Education requiring masks, quarantining for those exposed to covid, and vaccinations and testing for employees. You can read the ruling here. See p. 28 for the actual order.Read more
What options do IL schools have for remote learning?
As many districts around the state have had to take an adaptive pause after or for the first week back at school post-winter break, we are seeing lots of confusion from parents about whether ISBE needs to approve this or not, and whether districts can make this decision on their own. Some parents have told us their district has said it’s up to ISBE, which is not accurate. And Chicago Public Schools continues to tell parents the district is not currently authorized by law to do districtwide remote learning.Read more
Action alert: sign petition opposing lifting mask mandate
Last week, a lawsuit was filed against 145 school districts including Chicago Public Schools, Governor Pritzker and ISBE by groups of parents at these districts to lift the mask mandate and other covid safety measures in the schools. Each group of parents gave Attorney Tom Devore $5000 totalling $725K donated to make our schools and communities unsafe.Read more
What's new? IL recess law in effect now - Schools lose recognition by defying mask mandate - and more
Recess Law for IL K-5 students is *supposed* to be effective now
We are hearing from some parents who say that their school is not in compliance with the new recess law and that they have until next fall to adhere to it. This law took effect immediately upon signing, and school districts have known about it since late May when it passed the General Assembly.
Many schools have adjusted their schedules to allow for the 30 minutes of play time, so we know it’s possible. We’re putting together a toolkit for parents on how to bring attention to the new law at the school level so you can advocate to ensure your kids get this much-needed time. In the meantime, our FAQ on the law can be downloaded here, and it has a list of resources you can utilize too.Read more
New mask mandate for IL schools this fall and other news
There is a big divide among parents in IL (and nationally) over mask mandates. With the Delta variant surging, the CDC has recommended that all students and school employees wear masks this fall as part of a combination of strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19. This has enraged certain groups of parents who are showing up at school board meetings claiming it’s a matter of freedom, personal choice and even privacy whether their child wears a mask.
We have heard from parents on both sides of the issue and to make it clear, we at IL-FPS believe strongly in following guidance from public health experts and agencies, especially during a global pandemic that has killed over 600,000 people in this country. The covid vaccine is not yet available to children under 12 years of age, and the delta variant is highly contagious. 72,000 cases of covid were diagnosed in US children last week; up from 39,000 the week before.Read more