March 2020 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, read how Illinois’ remote learning announcement is developing into school district plans, urban to rural, as districts work to manage the "digital divide."

New order by Gov. Pritzker gives schools more flexibility amid coronavirus shutdown but leaves door open to extending school year
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, March 27

CPS To Distribute 100,000 Computers For E-Learning To Start April 13
CBS2, Chicago, March 30

When Illinois shifted to e-learning, this rural school superintendent shifted to the copy machine
Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica Illinois in The Southern Illinoisan, March 27

School shutdowns raise stakes of digital divide for students
Meg Kinnard and Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, The Telegraph, Alton, March 30

Illinois School Closures Spotlight Opportunity Gap For Poor Students
Lee V. Gaines, WILL, Urbana, March 30


In today’s Leading News, coronavirus impacts on Illinois K-12 public education turn another page, as the statewide remote learning days announcement takes effect this week.

Illinois students to begin remote learning Tuesday
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 29

Not all schools can #KeepLearning
Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune, and Jodi S. Cohen and Haru Coryne, ProPublica Illinois, in the Peoria Journal Star, March 28

What education looks like during a global pandemic
Corina Curry, Rockford Register-Star, March 28

Charleston schools doing everything possible to 'minimize learning loss'; Too early to answer if seniors will be able to graduate this year
Dave Fopay, Journal-Gazette and Times-Courier, Charleston and Mattoon, March 27

CPS to buy new computers for students to use at home, ramp up e-learning during coronavirus shutdown
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, March  25

In today’s Leading News, the impacts of COVID-19 on Illinois public education include informing rural constituencies, providing e-learning capabilities, meeting the challenges of providing meals to students in the community,  and staying connected in many social-distancing safe forms of outreach.

CDC doctor: Rural areas shouldn't let guard down as big cities bear brunt of COVID-19
Molly Parker, The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, March 24

How will Chicago-area schools make e-learning work when some kids don’t have internet?
Officials vow to do ‘whatever we can to bridge the digital divide.’

Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, March 25

Peoria Public Schools meal program serving thousands daily amid virus outbreak
Scott Hilyard, Peoria Journal-Star, March 24

Shuttered schools keep families fed
Matt Koester, The Register-Mail, Galesburg, March 25

District 118 pilots food program with McDonald's
Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, March 25

Local superintendents react to extended school closures
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, March 25

Even at a distance, teachers work to keep students engaged
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 24

In today’s Leading News, U.S. Department of Education has approved Illinois’ waiver request, a step towards cancelling standardized testing as the unusual school year continues under coronavirus response measures. Also in the news, from after-school care to solar panels, and from farmland to TIF districts to long-term facilities plans, school boards in Illinois continue their decision-making work.

Illinois moves toward canceling spring standardized tests for all students
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 25

D95 settles on company for aftercare in 2020-21
Bob Skolnik, Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, March 17

Nearly 3,000 solar panels will help power Glenbard East
Katlyn Smith, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 17

BBCHS school board approves farm lease, new bus
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, March 11

Batavia school board deals a blow to Shodeen project
Jacob Bartelson, Kane County Chronicle, March 24

Decatur school board approves bond issuance to move forward with BOLD plan
Analisa Trofimuk, Decatur Herald and Review, March 24

In today’s Leading News, the coronavirus emergency prompted an early rollout of a one-to-one computer program in Minooka CHSD 111. Iowa schools join their neighbors in Illinois in the school faciity shutdown. Across the state, school districts are moving forward, and predictions continue about the length and impacts of the closures. Also in the news, across the state  cafeteria staff continue are among those continuing to work.

Minooka Community High School provides meals and laptops to students during school closure
Morris Herald-News, March 20

What's next for Quad-City schools?
Megan Valley, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, March 23

Schools facing a conundrum about how to move forward
Gary Henry, Prairie Press, Paris, March 23

So far, school days lost to the Illinois coronavirus shutdown don’t have to be made up. But how long can that continue?
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, March 34

Cafeteria Workers, School Staff On The Front Lines Delivering Food To Illinois Students
Lee V. Gaines, WILL, Urbana, March 19

In today’s Leading News, read media reports on the extension of the school closing timeframe and the “Act of God” designation. School boards join in social distancing under emergency-relaxed OMA rules. As hundreds of Illinois school districts implement e-learning for students; some take to the streets with W-Fi-enabled buses. 

Illinois State Board of Education issues guidance on 'Act of God' days
Valerie Wells, Journal-Gazetter and Times-Courier, Mattoon and Charleston, March 22

Staying home not for everyone
Erich Murphy, Pontiac Daily Leader, March 20

L-P holds board meeting online to help combat spread of coronavirus
Aly Braboy, Ottawa Times, March 18

Students and parents go through learning curve
as school districts make switch to at-home e-learning

Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, March 20

While Schools Are Closed, Illinois District Uses Buses As Wi-Fi Hotspots
Lee V. Gaines, WILL, Urbana, March 19
In today’s Leading News, as Illinois manages the state’s coronavirus crisis, CPS schools will stay closed into April, and ISBE tells school leaders schools statewide could be empty longer than the initial emergency announcement decreed. Also in the news, referendums pass in LeRoy CUSD 2 and Glenview CCSD 34.
COVID-19 brings life to standstill in Illinois
Amy Winter, The Navigator, Albion, March 18
Officials reassure residents that grocery stores and gas stations will remain open as Illinois cases hit 422
Gregory Pratt, John Byrne, Dan Petrella, Hannah Leone, Robert McCoppin and Morgan Greene
Chicago Tribune, March 19
Illinois State Board of Education: 'Very real possibility' school closure will be extended beyond March 30
Molly Parker, The Southern Illinoisan, March 18
Le Roy voters OK 8.3 million project for Le Roy Elementary School
WMBD, Peoria, March 18
Glenview school $119M referendum gets ‘yes’ from voters: ‘A watershed moment in our community’
Anna Kim, Glenview Announcements, March 18

In today’s Leading News, a break from coronavirus updates to report some of the results of the March 17 primary election, which included bond issues, tax rate increase requests, and two county school facilities sales tax questions.

Villa Park schools tax hike passes handily
Daily Herald, Chicago and suburbs, March 18 

Barrington school officials thank voters for $147M referendum they say ‘overwhelmingly passed’ this second time around
Kaitlin Edquist, Chicago Tribune, March 18

Voters reject tax hike in Oswego District 308, funding for new Batavia Park District recreation center
Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, March 18

QPS officials look ahead after vote fails
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 17

Marion County voters approve 1-cent sales tax for schools 
Bruce Kropp, WJBD, Salem, March 18

Voters defeat sales tax for schools
Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, March 17

In today’s Leading News, school districts throughout the state begin managing education in the age of corona virus, e-learning options, and social distancing. Also in the news, Tuesday was an primary election day in Illinois, expect coverage of local education-related issues tomorrow.
As schools close during coronavirus outbreak, Carbondale schools fill food gap
Brian Munoz, The Southern Illinoisan, March 18
Coronavirus school closings: Moving toward e-learning
Hillary Dickerson, Galena Gazette, March 17
 ‘Act of God’ days, e-learning and coronavirus: What you need to know about the CPS, Illinois school shutdown
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, March 17
Decatur school staff to be paid during two-week shutdown
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, March 16
With kids home from school, Aurora area districts plan for remote learning and families search for social-distancing approved activities
Sarah Freishtat, Aurora Beacon-News, March 16
Coronavirus wreaks havoc on Tuesday primaries
Natasha Korecki, Politico Illinois, March 17

In today’s Leading News, school buildings in Illinois are closed starting today for coronavirus outbreak abatement; closings will be “Act of God” Days. Learning takes to the screens of many students statewide. Also in the news, it’s an unusual election day in Illinois; today’s primary includes school district bond issues and two county school facility sales tax referendums.

School closures considered ‘Act of God’ days, PPS unveils plan to distribute food to students amid closure
Kevin Schwaller, WMBD, Peoria, March 16

What ‘remote learning’ will look like during COVID-19
Marin Scott, Chicago Sun-Times, March 13

Students won’t get a ‘vacation’ as teachers prepare to give online lessons during shutdown
Mike Koziatek, Belleville News-Democrat, March 14

An Illinois primary like no other: Low turnout, poll worker shortage expected amid coronavirus
Rick Pearson, Hal Dardick and Bill Ruthhart, Chicago Tribune, March 16

Barrington school officials show ‘most critical needs’ that would be addressed with money from $147M referendum
Kaitlin Edquist, Barrington Courier-Review, March 2

School Sales Tax Referendum Is On The Ballot Again In Vermilion County
Jim Meadows, WILL/Illinois Newsroom, March 15

In today’s Leading News, the COVID-19 coronavirus closes all Illinois K-12 school facilities as of March 17, many sooner. Classrooms will be empty until at least March 30. ISBE and school districts are prioritizing meals for free- and reduced-prince eligible students. Also in the news, an infographic simulation explains how the virus spreads.

Pritzker orders all K-12 schools closed …
Doug Finke, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 13

Here's everything you need to know about school closures, meals in Southern Illinois
Isaac Smith, The Southern Illinoisan, March 14

Illinois State Board of Education addresses frequently asked questions on schools, coronavirus
Lee News Service, Decatur Herald and Review, March 13

Schools plan for providing student meals amid closures due to coronavirus
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, March 13

Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread, and how to flatten the curve
Harry Stevens, Washington Post, March 15


In today’s Leading News, what is “flattening the curve” and why does it matter? Read the latest on the statewide response to the coronavirus, COVID-19, situation. School districts monitor the expected outbreak and consult with local health authorities to make decisions.
Flattening the Coronavirus Curve
Siobhan Roberts, New York Times, March 13
Gov. J.B. Pritzker orders shutdown of public events of more than 1,000 people,
but most schools will stay open as Illinois’ coronavirus count grows to 32
Dan Petrella and Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune, March 12
‘Unique,’ ‘fluid’ situation as state leaders look to stay on top of virus spread
Rebecca Anzel, CNI/Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, March 12
What you need to know about coronavirus and how it’s affecting southwestern Illinois
Mike Koziatek, Belleville News-Democrat, March 12
DeKalb School District won't close schools, will postpone large events until further notice
Kelsey Rettke, Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, March 12

State encouraging remote education plans in latest coronavirus guidance to schools
Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 12

 Northbrook, Glenview school districts cancel all ‘nonessential’ activities until at least April 5 
Jason Addy, Contributing Editor and Martin Carlino, Editor, Northbrook Tower, March 12
QPS emphasizing 'good health procedures' with coronavirus threat
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 13

In today’s Leading News, today is the first day for residents to complete the U.S. Census. In other news, today brings more statewide and local response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.

Census response period begins Thursday
Kade Heather, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 11

IHSA state basketball tournaments and all playoff games closed to public
Michael O'Brien, Chicago Sun-Times, March 12

Legislature on hold as Illinois coronavirus cases rise to 25
Ben Orner, CNI/Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, March 11

Kane County public schools remain open, vigilant
in light of Kane County coronavirus case

Kane County Chronicle, March 11

Bloomington District 87 planning meetings on coronavirus response;
Unit 5 keeping community updated

Lenore Sobota, Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, March 11

In today’s Leading News, Vermillion County school districts discuss the county school facility sales tax proposal on the March 17 ballot. Facilities referendums will be on the ballots of Illini West HSD 307 and Rosemont ESD 78 voters. Also in the news, local government entities join Algonquin-based Community Unit School District 300 in a legal battle over tax revenue allocated to the Sears Corporation in an economic development agreement.
Hoopeston Area School District officials discuss proposed sales tax at community forum
Jordan Crook, Hoopeston Chronicle, March 9
Voters to decide increasing sales tax for schools
Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, March 10
Illini West High School tours offered to educate voters on building project
Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 7
Dist. 78 Seeks Voters’ OK To Build New School Building
Anne Lunde, Journal and Topics, Chicago suburbs, March 4
Taxing district join District 300 lawsuit against Sears to collect on lost tax revenue
Drew Zimmerman, Northwest Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 9

In today’s Leading News, read the latest on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Illinois: Governor J.B. Pritzker has issued a statewide disaster proclamation. A CPS high school remains closed after an employee tested positive for coronavirus. ROE17 Superintendent Mark Jontry and school districts in and around McLean County offer precautions and advise preparation. Edwardsville CUSD 7 considers athletic and extracurricular impacts. Also in the news, a national story looks at the fairness of e-learning when schools are closed.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker issues disaster proclamation as four new cases of coronavirus
in Illinois bring state’s total to 11

Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, March 10

Vaughn High School aide infected with coronavirus ‘worked while symptomatic,’
but no other new cases yet linked to school

Hannah Leone and Javonte Anderson, Chicago Tribune, March 10

Regional Superintendent: When Schools Will (And Won't) Close For Coronavirus
Ryan Denham and Charlie Schlenker, WGLT, DeKalb, March 9

HEALTH: Local ADs taking precautions
Matt Kamp, The Intelligencer, Edwardsville, March 9

Schools wrestle with fairness of closures during outbreak
Michelle R. Smith and Collin Binkley, AP/The Telegraph, Alton, March 9

In today’s Leading News, programs at Monmouth-Roseville CUSD 238 and Galesburg CUSD 205 school districts offer pathways to the area’s growing number of bilingual and English-learner students. Naperville CSUD 203 student journalists object to changes in student media policies. Quincy SD 172 offers plans aimed at improving teacher recruitment and retention. Community asks district to reconsider closing a high school facility. Also in the news, the discussion of active shooter drills continues statewide.
Monmouth, Galesburg schools adapt to bilingual challenges
Matt Koester, The Register-Mail, Galesburg, March 8
Naperville student journalists say school district′s proposed changes
contradict state law on free speech rights

Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, March 5
QPS hopes 'small things' provide big benefits for recruitment, retention
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 5
Save Our School Group disputes architect report
Michael Miller, Prairie Advocate, Lanark, March 4
Illinois Makes Schools Drill For ‘Active Shooters’
Should Parents Be Allowed To Opt Out?

Olivia Mitchell, NPR Illinois, February 28
In today’s Leading News, schools in Pennsylvania. Washington state, and worldwide in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, and Illinois school districts remain on alert and ready to respond. Also in the news, dirt and its accompanying microbes aren’t so bad after all (but still, wash your hands).
As Schools Close Because Of Coronavirus, Nearly 300 Million Kids Aren't In Class
Laurel Wamsley, NPR News. Washington, D.C., March 5
Local school districts share plans to protect students
against potential coronavirus outbreak

Darront├ę Matthews, WMBD, Peoria, March 3
Sick CPS students ‘will be sent home immediately,’ district says,
as coronavirus fears spread

Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, March 4
Chicago-area schools get a proactive scrub down in response to coronavirus spread
Kate Thayer and John Keilman, Chicago Tribune, March 3
Science says dirt is good for kids
HTV National Desk/Alton Telegraph, March 5
In today’s Leading News, a proposed bill would require schools that use Native American symbolism of names to teach the associated culture in its curriculum. CPS’s decision to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day has drawn protests from the Italian-American community. Sunset Ridge SD 29 says a vendor hire accused of video recording in a school bathroom had a criminal history that was not detected in a background check. Naperville CUSD 203 aims to reduce its levy. In arts news, Effingham CUSD 40 allots funds for new marching band uniforms.
Lawmaker wants Native American culture taught in schools using its imagery
Kade Heather, State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 29
Chicago Public Schools’ change from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day was not legal, group says
John Byrne, Chicago Tribune, March 4
Northfield school officials point to unclear state law in hiring of man with criminal record while acknowledging ‘we could have done better’
Karen Ann Cullotta, Pioneer Press/Winnetka Talk, March 3
Naperville District 203 looking at reducing levy by as much as $3.7M to reduce property tax bills
Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, March 4
Brand New: Unit 40 OKs $64K for band uniforms
Kaitlin Cordes, Effingham Daily News, February 25

In today’s Leading News, school districts and law enforcement in Lake County discuss response protocols after a wave of social media threats to schools. Altamont CUSD 10 considers food service bids. Some CPS elementary parents question the school’s rules and definitions about snacks. Paw Paw CUSD 271 considers paths to offering preschool options. Also in the news, a new state report advises on inclusivity for students with nonconforming gender identities, including an end to crowning homecoming and prom royalty.

Lake County schools are ‘casting the net a little wider’ when investigating threats, officials say
Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, March 2

Altamont School Board Hears Concerns About Seeking Food Service Bids
Greg Sapp, WXEF, Effingham, February 27

South Loop Elementary issues alert to keep marijuana-laced edibles out of school, leaving parents confused about acceptable snacks
Christen A. Johnson, Chicago Tribune, March 2

Paw Paw School Board discusses preschool options and possible soccer co-op
Mendota Reporter, March 2

No more homecoming queen? Schools advised to consider nonconforming gender identities
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 2

In today’s Leading News, school districts consider the potential spread of coronavirus, and one suburban school district explains precautions after staff members and students report proximity to an individual with COVID-19. Two Sangamon County school districts seek referendum approval from voters. Edwards County CUSD 1 aims to issue bonds. Also in the news, DuQuoin CUSD 300 considers a policy for naming facilities.
From canceled trips to China and plans for e-learning,
Lake County schools keep a wary eye on coronavirus
Yadira Sanchez Olson, Lake County News-Sun, March 1
Possible coronavirus exposure: Family will stay home from Arlington Heights schools
Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 1
Three referendum questions on Sangamon County primary ballots
Brenden Moore, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 1
EC School Board passes $1.8 million bond
Amy Winter, Navigator Journal, Albion, February 28
Dist. 300 board enacts changes in naming policy
DuQuoin Call, February 29

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