CHICAGO (WCIA) — Already in the midst of remote learning after coronavirus concerns shuttered them last month, Gov. JB Pritzker announced in-person learning would be suspended for the remainder of the school year.
Pritzker made the announcement during a daily coronavirus briefing at 2:30 p.m.
Schools have been closed since March 17 — one of the governor’s early moves in the fight against COVID-19 transmission — and were required by the Illinois State Board of Education to fully transition to remote or e-learning on March 31, one day before Pritzker announced the extension of the mandatory, Stay-At-Home executive order to April 30.
And while school buildings will remain closed, remote learning plans will continue for the duration of the year.
ISBE convened an advisory group of teachers, superintendents and students to develop comprehensive Remote Learning Recommendations for all grade levels, including suggestions on grading, content selection and delivery, social-emotional development, and communication with families. The recommendations are available at www.isbe.net/covid19.
ISBE encouraged each school to determine a local method of taking attendance or checking student engagement. Daily virtual contact with students helps teachers understand when students may need additional support with assignments, meals, mental health, or other needs. ISBE will release recommendations to schools to address learning loss and students’ social-emotional needs when students transition back to in-person instruction.
The governor and his administration amended graduation requirements for high school seniors, in recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on their final semester. For example, current high school seniors may graduate without the normally required participation in consumer education and physical fitness assessment.
Standardized testing normally required by the state has also been canceled for the rest of the school year.
Pritzker also waived the edTPA and student teaching requirement for educator candidates who have completed all other requirements for licensure. These and other emergency changes to educator licensure will ensure that the COVID-19 does not impact local school district’s ability to hire qualified educators they need to support students.
When pressed by reporters during daily news briefings as to whether the Stay-At-Home order will be extended into May, Pritzker has hinted at the possibility.