The Coronavirus Year

  • Date Posted
    March 13, 2021
  • Category
This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic and response in Illinois, challenging school boards, their districts, schools, students, and communities in unprecedented ways.
Information was streaming in – in the news of March 12, 2020 we read about “flattening the curve,” and that schools would likely stay open. But the next day, March 13, via Executive Order, we learned that Illinois school buildings would close the next week to prevent the spread of the virus. School districts went to work on remote learning, meal provisions, and safety-related facilities upgrades, not knowing how long it would last. The demands were enormous and continual, and it was quickly noted that school buildings may have closed, but public education didn’t stop.
IASB also closed its doors in Springfield and Lombard that week in March 2020. But just like in the school districts the Association serves, the work carried on. IASB leadership communicated with state and local officials to share information and offer guidance to members. New events were created on virtual platforms and the usual IASB offerings were re-fashioned to meet the needs of the times. The Association’s in-district services continued even when in-person work was on hold. IASB’s COVID-19 Coronavirus resources page was built to house the latest guidance and information. The page still does that, as well as serving a timeline of what’s occurred over the past, remarkable year.
On this date in 2020, there were fewer than 50 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois. Now, that number is well over a million. On this date in 2020, there was no vaccine. Now, Illinois has over a million fully-vaccinated residents, including thousands of educators.
Boards of education are making critical and local decisions about health and safety even as expectations change and grow, equity gaps take on new urgency, funding questions never end, and the old-normal work continues. Approximately 150,000 students graduated from Illinois public high schools in the Class of 2020. About that many, the future Class of 2033, entered kindergarten. For them, everyone in between, and those that follow, the education community continues to rise to the challenges of these times.