August 2020 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, creativity is driving return-to-school efforts for Springfield SD 186 elementary students, and Peoria-area schools seek improved remote learning pathways. Palatine CCSD 15 sets up “tech tents” to help families with English-learning students, and McLean Co Unit District 5 adds supports for students in special education programs. Also in the news, a CPS principal authors “No Hugs, No Bugs,” for an affectionate yet socially-distanced return-to-school.

Teachers, families prepare for remote learning with creativity; urge ‘latitude and grace’
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, August 1

Central Illinois schools look to improve remote learning
Scott Hilyard, Peoria Journal-Star, August 22

District 15 "tech tents" help bilingual families with e-learning
Elena Ferrarin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 25

Unit 5 works to develop special education plans ahead of remote learning
Kelsey Watznauer and Sierra Henry, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, August 21

Inspired by a student’s hug, principal on Chicago’s South Side pens children’s book about returning to school during COVID-19
Claire Hao, Chicago Tribune, August 20
In today’s Leading News, Metro East residents are asking for more information from school districts. Efforts are underway to improve remote learning access, as school districts across the state arrange and re-arrange plans.  Also in the news, read about a milestone of meals in Waukegan.

COVID is showing up in southwest IL schools. Why aren’t districts sharing information?
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, August 28

DuPage program to help schools with remote learning
Daily Herald, August 26

La Salle-Peru High will go all remote learning through Oct. 16
Ottawa Times, August 27

Guests Address Nokomis Board About Reopen Plan
Hillsboro Journal-News, August 27

Kansas has smooth back to school start
Gary Henry, Prairie Press, Paris, August 26

Waukegan schools pass 1-million mark in meals distributed during pandemic
Steve Sadin, Lake County News-Sun, August 28
In today’s Leading News, school districts open school buildings for in-person or hybrid learning, while others move to remote learning plans as area COVID cases increase. Also in the news, a national look, with an Illinois angle, on the factors at play in to determining what data is shared with communities.

Champaign, Urbana teachers begin strange semester
Anthony Zilis, News-Gazette, Champaign, August 25

Geneva D-304 highlights cleaning, disinfecting, distancing to control COVID-19
Brenda Schory, Kane County Chronicle, August 25

Stockton schools switch to remote learning as 2 student COVID-19 cases confirmed
John Kruse, Telegraph Herald, Dubuque, Iowa, August 26

COVID-19 outbreak forces Cambridge schools to go to remote learning
John Marx, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, August 25

New coronavirus cases are emerging at schools.
How much you know depends on where you live.

Jayme Fraser, Sommer Brugal, Thomas Langhorne, Arika Herron and Rachel Fradette, USA Today Network, August 22

In today’s Leading News, the state’s newest KIDS data show another year of kindergarten readiness improvement. Boards of education ink annual budgets. Homewood-Flossmoor plans to buy cars for driver’s ed. A school district considers the addition of Diwali to the school holiday schedule. Also in the news, students lead the effort for Black history in the curriculum.

Survey shows kindergarten readiness increase for second consecutive year
Tabi Jozwick, McDonough County Voice, August 25

Litchfield School Board Adopts Tentative Budget
Mary (Galer) Herschleman, Hillsboro Journal-News, August 24

West Aurora School District looks at balanced budget
Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, August 19

Butler District 53 won’t be able to add requested Hindu holiday of Diwali to school calendar
Chuck Fieldman, The Doings, Oak Brook, August 20

H-F High purchasing cars for driver's ed program
Marilyn Thomas, Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, August 24

There's a movement to get more schools to teach Black history and it's being led by teens
Scottie Andrew, CNN, August 25

In today’s Leading News, school districts review decisions and protocols as some school districts are in session and others await the first day.
‘A bright spot’: School music education adapts to pandemic
Leslie Renken, Peoria Journal Star, August 23
Jacksonville schools on course for in-person learning
Marco Cartolano, Jacksonville Journal Courier, August 22
Hinsdale High School District 86 improves digital security after nudity, racist remark interrupt online classes
Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, August 23
RBHS teachers flex, school goes remote
Bob Skolnik, Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, August 18
More Morton Students Quarantining After Potential COVID Exposures
Tim Shelley, Peoria Public Radio, August 18

In today’s Leading News, a federal judge has blocked a federal rule giving private schools a bigger share of CARES Act funds. Also in the news, school years are starting up, with renewed attention on remote learning as schools make and remake decisions.

Federal judge halts Betsy DeVos’s controversial rule sending coronavirus aid to private schools
Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, August 23

A long summer’s journey into remote learning
Scott Hilyard, Peoria Journal-Star, August 23

More south suburban schools abandon, for now, plans to bring students back to classroom
Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, August 19

CPS unveils framework for remote learning
Chicago Sun-Times, August 18

Glenwood High School students will start with remote learning; 17 Hillsboro students quarantined
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, August 22
In today’s Leading News, school districts consider issues of social justice and representation.

3 of 4 people arrested at CPS are Black even as arrests plummet
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, August 14

High schools around the country — including Morris and Minooka in Illinois — are re-examining their use of Native American mascots ... 
Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune, August 18

District 215 signals intention to retire T-F South’s Rebels nickname after 70% of students surveyed support change
Zak Koeske, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, August 16

Lane Tech College Prep school council votes to abolish ‘Indian’ mascot
Stefano Esposito, Chicago Sun-Times, August 5

Alton High School plan of action for inclusion to become district-wide initiative
Dylan Suttles, The Telegraph, Alton, August 13

Decatur school board passes resolution declaring racism a 'public health crisis'
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, August 4
In today’s Leading News, an ISBE survey shows a snapshot of district responses to return-to-learn. Metro East school districts adjust plans as area warnings increase. Herrin High School sends some students home after a positive test. Districts work on remote learning plans and implementation. Also in the news, multi-generational households cope with coronavirus and back-to-school.

Most Illinois Students Will Learn Remotely or in a Blended Environment
Brad Palmer, WSIU, Carbondale, August 13

Illinois Gov. Pritzker: Metro East could be just a 'step away' from even more restrictions
Erin Heffernan, Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, August 18

Herrin High School sends home about 2 dozen students after one tests positive for COVID-19
Molly Parker, The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, August 13

Decatur schools kick off virtual learning, adjust to remote classes
Garrett Karsten, Decatur Herald and Review, August 17

Indian Prairie builds five days into 2020-21 calendar to give teachers time to plan for remote learning
Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, August 11
Homes with grandparents weigh coronavirus risk as school starts
Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times, August 15
In today’s Leading News, as mid-August arrives, school districts determine how to cope with coronavirus. Some schools are in-person, some are at-home, some are deciding. And, what can we learn from daycares?

Just 9 of 105 suburban school districts returning students to classrooms full-time
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 16

With school plan in place at Riverton, ‘we’re just doing the best that we can’
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, August 16

Hinsdale District 86 changes course; high schools will start with all-online instruction
Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, August 14

Following marathon meeting, Ball-Chatham school board moves vote to Monday
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, August 16

Can little kids really social distance? Lessons from child care centers that have stayed open during the pandemic ...
Claire Hao, Chicago Tribune, August 17

In today’s Leading News, ISBE’s updated guidance puts coronavirus reporting responsibility on parents or guardians. A national report on Evanston/Skokie SD 65’s efforts to prioritize spots for in-person learning draws criticism, trolling, and threats. School starts in-person for most Streator THSD 40 students, remote in Warrensburg-Latham CUSD 11, and hybrid in East Alton-Wood River CHSD 14. Custodial staff work takes on new importance as districts hope to more to in-person learning. Also in the news, one of last big year’s national stories is back, with an Illinois connection and a coronavirus plot twist.
New guidance on school re-entry amid COVID asks parents to report confirmed cases to schools
Kelsey Rettke, Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, August 12
Evanston school leaders report ‘ominous threats’ following Fox News coverage of reopening that highlighted approach to students of color
Genevieve Bookwalter, Pioneer Press/Evanston Review, August 13
Distancing, masks, temperature checks begin for in-person students
J.T. Pedelty, Ottawa Times, August 12
Warrensburg-Latham to teach remotely after COVID exposures
Decatur Herald and Review, August 11
East Alton-Wood River High School update reopening plan
Dylan Suttles, Alton Telegraph, August 12
For the custodial staff in High School District 218, cleaning procedures take on renewed importance
Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, August 11
Illinois congressman calls for federal ban on electronic cigarettes, citing study that shows link to COVID-19
Robert McCoppin, Chicago Tribune, August 13

In today’s Leading News, more details are unveiled and revisions made in how districts and educators and managing return-to-learn in the coronavirus pandemic.
Pritzker warns that COVID numbers still moving in wrong direction
Doug Finke, The State Journal-Register, Springfield, August 12
How schools are gearing up for an eventual return to classrooms
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 3
Private and homeschooled students barred from vocational school due to COVID-19 concerns
Katie Finlon, Kendall County Now, August 11
Bus safety during a pandemic
Colin Baillie, KFVS, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, August 9
P.E. in the Park to offer fitness opportunity for students taking part in remote learning
Donnette Beckett, Decatur Herald and Review, August 11

In today’s Leading News, contract negotiations continue in Galesburg CUSD 205. Local school councils for CPS schools are considering the assignment of police officers. The director of the state’s Teachers Retirement System has resigned. Illinois announces a collection of STEAM resources. Also in the news, Shaw Media is running a series on representations of Native Americans in school nicknames and team names.

Contract talks continue between D205, GEA
Matt Koester, The Register-Mail, Galesburg, August 6

More Chicago high schools vote to keep police resource officers, though protests against them go on
Claire Hao, Chicago Tribune, August 3

Ingram out as Teachers’ Retirement System director
Peter Hancock, CNI/The Pantagraph, Bloomington, August 7

Pritzker administration launches new resource for STEAM
Canton Daily Ledger, August 7

‘You are not honoring me’: Native American mascot debate reignites at Illinois high schools
Sean Hammond, Shaw Media, August 8

In today’s Leading News, storms roll through the state, upending trees, cutting power, and disrupting some already-disrupted back-to-school plans. CPS’s remote instruction start came after extended conversations. Also in the news, read regional looks at return-to-school plan.

Thousands around Peoria remain without power as a result of Monday’s storm
Nick Vlahos, Peoria Journal Star, August 11

Power outages cause some schools to adjust classes
Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, August 11

Parent opposition helps tip CPS toward an all-remote start ... 
Claire Hao, Chicago Tribune, August 5

Region's schools blending in-person, remote classes
Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree, Jacksonville Journal-Courier, August 10

Schools prepare for return to school
Brandon Behlke, Galena Gazette, August 3
In today’s Leading News, a lawsuit that would prevent Quincy Public Schools from enforcing face mask and temperature check requirements has been dismissed. Some employers are changing anticipated return-to-work dates based on return-to-school plans. Some colleges make standardized entrance exams optional as the “mad dash” to get a seat in a testing center continues. Also in the news, the Springfield SD 186 dress code will remain in place for remote learners, and it caught the attention of the New York Times.

Judge dismisses suit against QPS mask, temperature check requirements
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, August 6

The school year is starting with remote learning. Some companies are throwing working parents a lifeline.
Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune, August 5

Teachers union: Unit 4 reopening plan 'isn't safe enough'
Jeff D’Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, August 3

COVID-19 shutdowns create mad dash for ACT, SAT spots as college application season looms
John Keilman, Chicago Tribune, August 10

No Pajama Pants Allowed While Learning From Home, Illinois District Says
Will Wright, New York Times, August 8

In today’s Leading News, lots of questions, and a few emerging answers, on the 2020 return-to-school dilemma.

Here’s what a virtual school day will look like for CPS students this fall
Chicago Sun-Times, August 5

Results are in: No right answer for school to return
Tyler Pletsch, The telegraph, Alton, August 5

District 220 explains remote learning decision to concerned parents
Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 4

Why Indian Prairie Dist. 204 scrapped its reopening plans
Katlyn Smith, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 4

Teacher: Remote learning only safe option
Jay Redfern, Galesburg Register-Mail, August 6


In today’s Leading News, the Illinois Education Association wants a panel to determine the safety of schools’ in-person instruction reopening plans. CPS decides on remote learning to start the school year. In Rockford CUSD 205, half of parents surveyed want remote learning, and other districts revise plans as start dates near and COVID-19 stats trend. Also in the news, back-to-school shopping is a little different this year.
Illinois' largest teachers union sets up its own panel to judge school reopening safety
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 4
CPS makes it official: New school year will begin with all remote learning...
Hannah Leone, Sophie Sherry and Claire Hao, Chicago Tribune, August 5
Rockford leaders: About 50% of families are opting for remote learning this fall
Corina Curry, Rockford Register Star, August 5
Districts go round and round on school bus reopening plans
Mark Scolforo, AP/Alton Telegraph, August 5
COVID-19 reshapes and reduces back-to-school spending
Anne D’Innocenzio, AP/Chicago Sun-Times, August 4

In today’s Leading News, Governor JB Pritzker discusses Illinois’ financial outlook in the time of coronavirus. School reopening scenarios continue to play out with opinions from parents, teachers, and research pediatricians. Also in the news, the ESA reinstates some fall activities after last week’s extracurricular guidance.
Pritzker warns of deep cuts without federal economic aid
Peter Hancock, CNI/ Bloomington Pantagraph, August 4
Parents who want schools to reopen this fall say it’s a matter of choice, not politics. ‘Students’ mental health ... has got to be weighed.’
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, August 4
Virtual school: Teachers want to improve but training varies
Carolyn Thompson, AP/The Telegraph, Alton, August 2
Children may carry high levels of the coronavirus, up to 100 times as much as adults, new Lurie Children’s Hospital study finds
Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times via the Chicago Tribune, July 31
IESA reverses itself; Will allow softball, baseball, cross country this fall
Alton Telegraph, July 31

In today’s Leading News, it’s time for some other news. The Illinois Municipal League is looking for answers in court over the state holiday designation of Election Day. A group is seeking to overhaul how history is taught in Illinois. TIFs are on the table in DeKalb CUSD 428. Also in the news, Kewanee CUSD 229 teachers seek contract mediation, and an agreement is reached in Decatur SD 61’s extended negotiations with its teaching assistants.
Lawsuit filed to clarify Election Day holiday
Doug Finke, State Journal-Register, Springfield, July 29
Evanston group calls for history class to be updated with contributions from underrepresented groups
ABC 7, Chicago, August 2
DeKalb District lawyer wants to compromise with city on TIF audit findings
Kelsey Rettke, Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, July 30
Kewanee Education Association files for mediation
Mike Helenthal, Kewanee Star Courier, July 31
Teaching assistants contract approved by Decatur Board of Education
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, July 21

In today’s Leaidng News, local media looks at return-to-school plan in their respective regions. Also in the news, will remote learning be different in the fall semester?
Southern Illinois school officials plan ahead for COVID-19 testing, tracing — but questions remain
Brian Munoz and Molly Parker, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, August 1
‘Awesome’ for teachers to be in the classroom, but ‘at what expense?’
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, August 1
How do Peoria-area schools plan to reopen? Here’s your rundown.
Scott Hilyard, Journal Star, Peoria, July 31
School districts change plans, offer remote learning to all students
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, July 30
Online education was a mess in the spring. As COVID-19 prompts schools to stay virtual, will it get better this fall?
John Keilman, Chicago Tribune, July 31

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