July 2020 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, school districts aim for solutions to return-to-school, health and safety, and remote learning.
Mayoral allies unveil free Wi-Fi plan
Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, July 28
Remote learning promises "more direct instruction from teachers"
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, July 29
Illinois schools reopening updates: What suburban Chicago districts plan for fall
Chicago Tribune, July 30
Wauconda District 118 passes tuition waiver for non-resident school employees
Marissa Plescia, Lake County News-Sun, July 24
As COVID cases spike in southwestern IL, East St. Louis students may start year at home
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, July 23

In today’s Leading News, with the coronavirus pandemic still raising more questions than answers locally, as more districts announce their Plan As for the resumption of learning in August and September, others with previously-announced intents are deciding on Plan Bs. Also in the news, the IHSA’s coronavirus-modified schedule aims to include all sports it sponsors, in four shortened-seasons; Fall 2020 volleyball and boys soccer seasons are now slated for spring, as is football.
Districts putting finishing touches on back-to-school plans
Jeff D’Allesandro, News-Gazette, Champaign, July 29
With ‘no perfect solution’ in sight, schools in Arlington Heights and Plainfield are latest to reject in-person classes this fall in favor of remote learning only
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, July 28
Suburban districts flip-flop, nix in-person learning for fall after initially planning to reopen schools
Clare Proctor, Chicago Sun-Times, July 28
Naperville District 203 delaying start date, adjusting Return to Learn plan
Marie Wilson, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 28
IHSA moves football, girls volleyball and boys soccer to spring season; unveils modified schedule
Joey Wagner, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, July 1

In today’s Leading News, planning for return-to-school continues, and some school districts are announcing changes to previously-determined plans for in-person learning. Parents and teachers bring safety questions to CPS discussion. Also in the news, families and neighborhoods seek to hire private teachers, raising equity questions.

Districts plan differently for return to school
Stephanie Markham, Daily Journal, Kankakee, July 27

District 99 board shifts toward starting school year with remote learning
Joshua Welge, Suburban Life, July 28

CPS parents — and teachers — bombard district officials with questions about classroom safety
Chicago Sun-Times, July 28

Parents who can are hiring teachers
Laura Meckler and Hannah Natanson, The Washington Post/Alton Telegraph, July 17

'Pandemic Pods' Raise Concerns About Equity
Anya Kamanetz, All Things Considered, NPR, July 28
In today’s Leading News, read more about the impacts of the coronavirus on K-12 public education in Illinois, including the shutting down of most IESA fall activities.
New addition to morning rush for students -- temperature checks
Katlyn Smith, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 25
Disparities between Black and white students seen in CPS remote learning participation: ‘We are all disheartened to see the gap’
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, July 23
For those returning to Central Illinois schools, questions and concerns persist
Lenore Sobota, Sierra Henry, Kelsey Watznauer, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, July 25
Amid virus, uncertainty, parents decide how to school kids
Tammy Webber and Stephen Groves, AP/The Telegraph, Alton, July 26
‘We will be back. Safely’: IESA cancels most of its fall sports schedule
Dave Eminian, Peoria Journal Star, July 24
In today’s Leading News, ISBE released return-to-school recommendations document last week. It’s been a summer of reviewing learning options. Educators add their voices to concerns about fall learning plans, and a group protests against students wearing facemasks.

ISBE releases Fall 2020 learning recommendations
Tabi Jozwick, McDonough County Voice, July 24

Complex, controversial and subject to change: Here's what returning to school looks like in Southern Illinois
Molly Parker, Isaac Smith, Brian Munoz, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, July 25

Here’s what dozens of educators across Illinois say about schools reopening: ‘I’m scared. I want to do my job, but I don’t want to die.’
Chicago Tribune, July 26

Rockford-area teachers to protest return to school
Corina Curry, Rockford Register Star, July 25

About 150 protesters march against Illinois’ school face mask mandate
Brenden Moore, State Journal-Register, Springfield, July 25

In today’s Leading News, a state lawsuit seeks to ensure students wear face coverings in classrooms.  The Illinois Federation of Teachers advises remote learning. What might happen if a teacher tests positive? CPS sues the U.S. Department of Education over private-school funds and CARES Act expectations. Also in the news, forces of nature alter East Peoria CHSD 309’s return-to-school plan.

Pritzker lawsuit seeks face mask order for Illinois schools
John O’Connor AP/Alton Telegraph, July 17

Your child’s classmate or teacher z positive for coronavirus. What happens next?
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, July 22

Teachers’ union urges most schools to not reopen for in-person learning
Peter Hancock, CNI/ Kane County Chronicle, July 20

CPS could lose $10M to private schools, district says in lawsuit against Betsy DeVos over coronavirus funding
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, July 20

EPCHS flooding forces remote learning to start the school year
Scott Hilyard, Peoria Journal Star, July 21

In today’s Leading News, suburban and collar county school districts plan to start the school year with remote learning. Downstate districts look with caution at in-person or part-time in person, with a full remote option. In entertainment news: are private proms a good idea? And In sports, are football and other sports a good idea?

U-46 now will start new school year with remote learning
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 12

Stevenson High School to start new academic year with remote learning each day
Bob Goldsborough, Lincolnshire Review, July 2

Surveys, Mask Compliance Shape Schools Return Plans
Eric Stock and Ryan Denham, WGLT, Normal, July 17

District 186 details fall plan; some board members skeptical of in-person learning
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, July 21

Private proms during pandemic: 'Footloose' or loose cannons?
Holly Ramer, AP/Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, July 21   

Illinois High School Association postpones its board meeting to discuss fall sports until July 29
Justin Conn, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, July 21

In today’s Leading News: discussions, decisions, and reconsiderations continue as school districts prepare to educate students for the fall 2020 term.

Pritzker’s Plan To Prevent Resurgence Of COVID-19, New Guidelines For IL School Districts
Olivia Mitchell, NPR Illinois, July 15

CPS parents have mixed reactions to a part-time return to classroom
Jade Yan, Chicago Sun-Times, July 17

As schools weigh whether to reopen in the fall, anxiety is high among parents and teachers: ‘This is not the time to be getting students back together’

Karen Ann Cullotta and Sophie Sherry, Chicago Tribune, July 17

Evanston high school district announces students will not attend fall classes in person, reversing earlier statement
Genevieve Bookwalter, Pioneer Press/Evanston Review, July 17

Psychologist says transition back to school will be tough on children's mental health
Jakob Emerson, WICS, Springfield, July 16

In today’s Leading News, current events lead to renewed calls for changing Native American school team nicknames and imagery. Rock Island/Milan SD 41 develops an African American Parent Advisory Council. School officials deal with the financial aspects of uncertain times. Also in the news, read a follow-up to last fall’s investigations into seclusion and physical restraint in schools.

Granite City alumni group wants school district to drop Native American mascots
Dean Criddle, Belleville News-Democrat, July 17

Morris High School board discusses name change
Rob Oester, Morris Herald News, July 14

African American Parent Advisory Council meets at Rock Island
Nicole Lauer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, July 7

An uncertain road ahead: Financial, safety worries are many for school administrators
Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree, Jacksonville Journal-Courier, July 18

A Quiet Rooms follow-up: ‘I can’t breathe’ and the misuse of physical restraint in Illinois schools
Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune/ProPublica Illinois, July 9

In today’s Leading News, Illinois has redrawn response regions as re-opening hopes continue. Chalkbeat Chicago is tracking return-to-school plan announcements from school districts in Illinois. The media reports on Trump Administration comments “misrepresenting” coronavirus effect data on children and schools. Also in the news, “grapple” is the new “midst” as COVID-19 headline writers grapple with school district decisions and conversations in the midst of a pandemic.
Gov. Pritzker announces new regions, metrics to determine further coronavirus response in Illinois
WTVO, Rockford, July 15
School reopening tracker: More Illinois districts release fall plans
Sneha Dey and Samantha Smylie, Chalkbeat Chicago, July 14
Trump team's false comfort on schools, virus
Calvin Woodward, Hope Yen and Christopher Rugaber, AP/The Telegraph, Alton, July 13
Send the kids in August? Parents, schools grapple with reopening decisions
Madhu Krishnamurthy, and Marie Wilson, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 14
High school sports grapple with upcoming fall slate amid pandemic
Colin Likas, Champaign News-Gazette, July 11

In today’s Leading News, officials examine coronavirus numbers to assess re-opening decisions for Illinois, including high school sports. School districts continue to consider return-to-school options. Also in the news, the Daily Herald looks at federal funding impacts for schools that don’t return with in-person capacities.

Pritzker 'watching numbers very, very closely,' but vague on potential to roll back reopening
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, July 14

IHSA says it will defer to IDPH, ISBE, Pritzker's office on return to play guidelines
Sean Hammond, Northwest Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 14

Pekin-area school districts formulating back-to-school plans
Mike Kramer, Pekin Daily Times, July 10

More questions than answers remain for back to school
Matt Koester, Register-Mail, Galesburg, July 13

If Trump withholds funds from schools that don't open, how bad will they be hit?
Elena Ferrarin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 10

In today’s Leading News, as the IHSA scales back its allowable activities for summer sports, school districts prepare for return-to-school. Courts are being asked to hear the issue of requiring face masks and temperature checks in classrooms. Also in the news, charter schools are among the recipient of federal payroll-protection loans.

IHSA forced to revise Phase 4
The Telegraph, Alton, July 9

South suburban schools to start a new school year like no other amid COVID-19 concerns

Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, July 12

Clay County Couple Suing Over School Reopening Guidelines
INN/WNOI, Flora, July 3

Parent sues School Board over face mask, temperature check mandates
Deborah Gertz Husar, Quincy Herald-Whig, July 10

Taxpayer-funded Chicago charter schools cashed in on COVID-19 loans; CPS seeks probe
Lauren FitzPatrick and Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, July 8

In today’s Leading News, as COVID-19 cases climb, a testing center opens at a north suburban high school. As Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot says it’s a local decision, the national conversation  over opening schools continues and oscillates. Also in the news, the University of Illinois has a saliva test for returning students, faculty, and staff.

Mobile COVID-19 testing site opens at Lake Zurich High School in response to rising cases
Alexis McAdams, ABC 7, Chicago,  July 12

Despite President Donald Trump’s push for nation’s schools to reopen this fall, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the decision should be local
Gregory Pratt and Jamie Munks, Chicago Tribune, July 8

Nation's Pediatricians Walk Back Support For In-Person School
Anya Kamanetz, NPR, July 10

Virus spread, not politics should guide schools, doctors say
Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press, July 12

Free saliva-based COVID-19 tests begin at University of Illinois, but school won’t say if students are required to take them
Elyssa Cherney, Chicago Tribune, July 7

In today’s Leading News, amid pressure to reopen schools for full-time in-person learning, testing in some areas finds the number of COVID-19 cases among school-age children is increasing. Teachers and administrators raise options and concerns about classroom management and keeping students safe. Also in the news, the U of I plans to test students and staff.

President Trump says he will pressure states to reopen schools in fall
Collin Binkley. AP/ Chicago Sun-Times, July 7

Lake County warns COVID-19 cases climbing among young adults, teenagers
Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, July 8

Local school districts talk masks, regional superintendents weigh in on fall plans
WMBD, Peoria, July 7

Teachers have their own concerns as District 186 grapples with in-person learning
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, June 6

Back to school: 'We are changing the tire while we are driving the car'
Jeff D'Alessio, News-Gazette, Champaign, July 7

In today’s Leading News, current events lead to district and media discussion on the roles and expectations of school resource officers.  The state approves funds to buy the Lincoln-Way North High School facility. Maine THSD 207 reaches an agreement with its teachers. Also in the news, summer work continues at Quincy SD 172 facilities.
Rock Island-Milan School Board to discuss role of school resource officers
Nicole Lauer, Quad City Times, July 1
How many students are arrested at Chicago schools? CPS tells City Council it doesn’t know
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, June 1
Legislature appropriates $122.5 million to fund purchase of Lincoln-Way North High School as hub for state agencies
Zak Koeske, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, July 1
New four-year teachers pact in District 207
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 1
QPS summer projects ahead of schedule
Deborah Gertz Husar, Quincy Herald Whig, June 26

In today’s Leading News, ISBE walks back on the use of face shields for students and teachers, except when circumstances necessitate. Illinois school districts consult and consider their options for return-to-school. Also in the news, Florida’s education commissioner has signed an executive order requiring that state’s school district  to open next month.

ISBE halts mass use of face shields in schools
Galena Gazette, July 6

What Will Learning Look Like This Fall? That Depends On The School.
Adriana Cardona-Maguigad, WBEZ, Chicago, July 6

Altamont school officials navigate web of reopening guidelines
Charles Mills, Effingham Daily News, July 1

Barrington schools offering students choice between in-person or remote learning
Patricia Babcock McGraw, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 3

Florida’s public schools must reopen, offer 5-day-a-week, on-campus option, state says
Leslie Postal. Orlando Sentinel, July 6

In today’s Leading News, with coronavirus cases on the rise nationwide, take a look at back-to-school from  national, regional, and local perspectives.  Also in the news, IDPH has approved the IHSA’s plan for re-opening, which includes sport-specific activities.

School districts across US debate how to reopen as COVID-19 cases continue to spike
Patrick Whittle And Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press/Chicago Tribune, July 5

How Teachers Are Thinking About Reopening Schools
Sacha Pfeiffer, All Things Considered, NPR, July 5

Could this be the end of perfect attendance awards?
Corina Curry, Rockford Register Star, July 4

D205 fielding parents’ opinions
Matt Koester, Register-Mail, Galesburg, July 2

Illinois High School Association moves to 'Phase 4' of Return to Play Guidelines after getting IDPH approval
Joey Wagner, Decatur Herald-Review, July 3

In today’s Leading News, school district continue to plan for the fall semester based on the return-to-school guidelines released last week.

U-46 likely to require face masks, hand-washing stations, office shields when school resumes in fall, officials say
Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, June 30

Local superintendents react to state guidance for schools in Phase 4
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, July 1

School district superintendents say they won’t use hybrid learning model
WMBD, Peoria, June 29

'We'll put together the best possible plan we can and learn to adapt' Dist. 99 superintendent reacts to 'nebulous' ISBE fall guidelines
Joshua Welge Suburban Life, June 29

Rock Island School Board delays decision on remote learning to start year
Nicole Lauer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, June 30

In today’s Leading News, school districts in Illinois listen to their communities on issues of social justice and racial equity. In other news, a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a Montana case  may open the doors for greater public funding of private, religious education.
Students Seek Change
Sierra Henry, Bloomington Pantagraph, June 29
U-46 educators say social justice, racial equity begins in schools
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, June 20
Barrington, Lake Zurich alumni collect signatures on petitions that call for racial changes in schools
Marissa Plescia Pioneer Press/Lake Zurich Courier, June 29
‘400 YEARS OF THIS’ Area school districts look to address racism in myriad ways
Anthony Zilis, News Gazette, Champaign, June 28
Supreme Court: Montana Can't Exclude Religious Schools From Scholarship Program
Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio, Washington, D.C.

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