State To Release Guidelines on Return to School This Fall

State To Release Guidelines on Return to School This Fall

The Illinois State Board of Education said Wednesday that guidelines will soon be shared with school districts regarding opening school buildings for the fall semester.

“The Illinois State Board of Education will release guidance in the coming days to support a safe transition back to in-person learning this fall,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “We emphasize in-person learning for all students to the greatest extent possible, while realizing that may not be feasible in all situations.”

According to the Illinois Association of School Boards, “indications are that local school districts will be allowed to open schools for students’ return in the fall, but must follow specific health and safety guidelines.”

“Specifics of the guidance and exactly when the announcement will be made is uncertain,” the IASB said Thursday, June 18, via email. “This information could be delivered to school districts as early as today or tomorrow, but likely by the end of next week at the latest.”

State Adopts New ‘Blended Remote Learning’ Legislation

Late last week, Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 1569, which creates a Blended Remote Learning Day option designed to give schools additional flexibility as they develop plans for fall.

Officials said Blended Remote Learning Day gives schools additional flexibility as they develop plans for fall.

The legislation allows school districts to use remote learning during a declared public health emergency. The legislation allows remote learning days and up to five remote learning planning days to be considered attendance days.

The legislation also waives student assessment requirements if the Illinois State Board of Education has received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education.

To assist teachers, the legislation provides a year-long licensure extension for those with teaching and education support professional licenses set to expire on June 30, 2020. To address the performance rating system for educators, the law outlines procedures and protections for evaluations, such as carrying over an “Excellent” rating from the previous evaluation period.

To support educator recruitment, modifications to the School Code include:

  • Makes licenses endorsed for visiting international educators valid for five years (currently three);
  • Allows career and technical education teachers to renew their licenses with a test of workplace proficiency, not solely educators whose license was issued July 1, 2015 or after; and
  • Updates language to conform with current licensure nomenclature.

The law also affirms that constitution exams can be administered remotely.The law allows recipients of preschool education grants funded by ISBE to care for the children of essential workers who are under the age of 12 years old.

For parents, the law expands the requirement that they receive copies of all written materials used during a meeting to determine a child’s eligibility for special education and related services. Additionally, the legislation allows parents to choose how they wish to receive those materials and copies of their child’s school student records prior to the meeting.

The law ensures graduating high school seniors can graduate and earn their diploma. Additionally, ISBE may adopt rules to modify the requirements of the high school graduation requirements.

Regarding higher education, the law requires courses taken during the calendar year 2020 to be transferable for students receiving a passing grade and to fulfill the prerequisite requirements for advanced courses.

SB 1569 takes effect immediately.

SOURCE: Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Association of School Boards websites