July 2021 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, the mask conversation morphs due to new CDC guidelines due to the Delta variant of COVID-19.
CDC urges vaccinated people to wear masks indoors where COVID-19 is surging, recommends masks for everyone in schools
Mike Stobbe, AP/Chicago Tribune, July 27
Illinois Department of Public Health ‘fully aligns’ with new stricter CDC mask guidance
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/State Journal-Register, Springfield, July 27
Does making masks only optional in schools court lawsuits? Some worry more than others
Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 1
Madison County school district to offer K-6 classrooms where masks are always worn
Lexi Cortes, Belleville News-Democrat, July 27
Sparked by pandemic fallout, homeschooling surges across US
David MCrary, AP/The Pantagraph, Bloomington, July 26
In today’s Leading News, Macon County schools face staffing challenges. Morton CUSD 709 re-sources its school nurses. CPS stays with Aramark under new deal. Elgin-based U-46 becomes a dual-language district for all grades. Also in the news, more students than expected seek to take advantage of a new state law in Iowa that allows open enrollment.
Macon County schools struggling to find teachers, bus drivers, other staff
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, July 23
Fallout from divorce between Morton schools, UnityPoint creates history for the district
Steve Stein, Journal Star, Peoria, July 15
Aramark’s new CPS deal could be more expensive than previous contracts
Nader Issa, Fran Spielman, and Lauren FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, July 26
U-46 now a pre-K through 12th grade dual language district
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 9
Hundreds of students apply for open enrollment under new state law
Erin Murphy, Andrew Wind, and Anthony Watt, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier and Quad-City Times, July 18

In today’s Leading News, read the latest on the decisions facing schools, communities, and individuals in the new school year. 
District 303 parents ask school board members to reconsider decision to make masks optional
Eric Schelkopf, Shaw Media/Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 23
Kendall County Health Department backs updated CDC guidance for schools
John Etheredge, Kendall County Now, July 23
Emotions flow as board hears from parents
Jennifer Bailey, Danville Commercial-News, July 23
Alton schools plan weekly screenings
Ron DeBrock, Alton Telegraph, July 25
Reactions mixed on CPS’ mask mandate: ‘I’d prefer they follow the CDC guidelines’
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, July 23

In today’s Leading News, midsummer discussions of the impact of coronavirus on school districts continue.
Charleston schools to get $6 million in fed funding
Athena Pajer, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, Charleston and Mattoon, July 21
Local pediatrician says making masks optional in schools is ‘disservice to community’
Katie Finlon, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, July 23
Several west suburban districts still reviewing state’s new COVID-19 school guidelines before making decision on masking
Zareen Syed, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, July 20
With new guidance, masks will be optional in Monticello schools
Anthony Zilis, Champaign News-Gazette, July 20
QPS back-to-school plan recommends, doesn't require, masks
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, July 20
In today’s Leading News, school boards continue to weight input on back-to-school guidance.
To Mask Or Not To Mask? School Board Debates Heat Up As Fall Looms
Susie An, WBEZ, Chicago, July 22
Edwardsville Schools Parents Weigh In On COVID Mask Mandates For The New School Year
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat via St. Louis Public Radio, July 20
High school board hears public concern on masking
Jeff Helfrich, Rochelle News-Leader, July 20
Masks To Be Optional For Litchfield Students
Mary (Galer) Herschelman, Hillsboro Journal News, July 22
Elgin’s U-46 district making masks mandatory for kindergarten, elementary school children, optional for older students
Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, July 20

CPS will require masks for all students and teachers inside schools, regardless of vaccination status
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, July 22

In today’s Leading News, back-to-school shopping is underway. Lemont THSD 210 considers a nickname change. Edgar County CUSD 6 schools discuss challenges in finding teachers. The Community High SD 99 (Downers Grover) board holds discussion on Critical Race Theory. Also in the news, read about the next concerns for cybersecurity in schools.
Chicago families to spend $1B on back-to-school items as return to in-person classes means longer shopping lists
Lauren Zumbach, Chicago Tribune, July 20
Lemont High School to discontinue use of controversial 'Indians' mascot
ABC7, Chicago, July 19
Chrisman schools have full faculty, tough time finding new hires
Gary Henry, Prairie Press, Paris, July 19
Critical race theory opponents make their case at District 99 meeting
Bob Rakow, Suburban Life/Shaw Media, July 20
What you need to know about cybersecurity: 'Expect a future where a computer doesn't just connect you, but can also be a weapon'
Jeff D’Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, July 20
In today’s Leading News, the conversation conversations as school districts process information and opinion on return-to-school coronavirus mitigation methods.
'Unmask our children' parent protesters say at Winnebago County Health Department
Andrea V. Watson and Scott P. Yates, Rockford Register Star, July 19
St. Charles School District won't require masks for new school year
Eric Schelkopf, Shaw Media/Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 20
Springfield District 186 board of education to vote on mask policy for students Aug. 2
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, July 20
Popular issues raised at Crestwood meeting
Samantha Tucker, Prairie Press, Paris, July 19
Edwardsville Schools parents weigh in on COVID mask mandates for the new school year
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, July 19
IDPH reports Southern Illinois county has lowest vaccination rate
Maya Skinner, WSIL, Carterville, July 21
In Tuesday’s Leading News, read opinions on the decisions-making surrounding protecting schoolkids from coronavirus in the upcoming school year.
American Academy of Pediatrics: Universal masking in schools will protect kids from COVID-19
Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 19
Parents want answers to mask mandate questions
Erin Sanson, Enquirer-Democrat, Carlinville
Roundtable: Should schools require masks?
Galesburg Register-Mail, July 16
Our View: School boards must make some difficult decisions
Editorial Board, Shaw Media, Northwest Herald, July 17
Editorial: How the state can help schools deal with mask edict
Editorial Board, Daily Herald, July 17
In Monday’s Leading News, more school districts and communities discuss masks, guidelines, and back-to-school.
Surging number of suburban school districts will let parents decide if their students will be masked in the fall: ‘We’re getting kids their freedom back’
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, July 16
District 205 waiting to set mask policy for upcoming school year
Jane Carlson, Galesburg Register-Mail, July 13
Illinois parents contest CDC school mask policy for kids, says choice should be local
Sean Lewis, WGN, Chicago, July 13
Vaccinated students, staff can attend District 207 schools without masks in fall, superintendent says
Jennifer Johnson, Pioneer Press/Park Ridge Herald Advocate, July 13
Highland students can go maskless for in-person learning this fall — vaccinated or not
Elizabeth Donald, Highland News Leader, July 14
Orland District 135 officials weigh mask mandates, remote learning as school year approaches
Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, July 13

In today’s Leading News, school districts and communities discuss masks, guidelines, and back-to-school.
Naperville D203 parents divided over whether masks should be mandatory when school resumes
Rafael Guerrero, Naperville Sun, July 13
With CDC stressing local control, Collinsville parents urge school to be mask-optional
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, July 13
Ottawa High parents say mandated masks will lead to segregation, bullying
Michael Urbanec, Ottawa Times, July 12
Hundreds sign petition protesting face masks in D. 122
Denise M. Baran-Unland, Joliet Herald-News, July 12
Central Illinois schools still weighing mask issue
Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, July 12

In today’s Leading News, read the latest questions, concerns, and answers on the next wave of decisions facing schools, communities, and individuals in the new school year.  
New CDC mask recommendations “not a mask mandate,” Pritzker’s office says
Illinois Capitol News/Mark Maxwell, WCIA, Champaign, July 13
Illinois needs ‘people to lift up their sleeves’ and get COVID vaccine, top doctor says
DeAsia Paige, Belleville News-Democrat, July 13
Illinois’ COVID-19 infection rate — while still low — doubles in two weeks: ‘We could easily backslide’
Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun-Times, July 9
Dr. Ngozi Ezike encourages COVID-19 vaccinations as Delta variant spreads
Marilyn Halstead, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, July 12
What are the unanswered questions for school districts about COVID-19 mitigations before students return?
Shaw Local News Network, July 12

In today’s Leading News, Governor JB Pritzker has signed a law requiring Asian American history, and another mandating lessons in media literacy, in Illinois schools. Tazewell County schools consider the value of scheduling remote learning days on Election Day. Weekend storms bring tornado damage to Virginia CUSD 64 facilities. Also in the news, CPS cancels a parking company that managed paid parking at Wrigley Field events.
Illinois becomes first state to require teaching Asian American history in schools
Kimmy Yam, NBC 5, Chicago, July 12
Media literacy requirement, animal products ban among latest 53 bills signed by Pritzker
Peter Hancock, CNI/Champaign News-Gazette, July 12
Why savings won't meet projections as Tazewell County returns polling places to schools
Steve Stein, Peoria Journal Star/Pekin Times, July 5
Tornadoes damage buildings, homes and bring down power lines and trees near Springfield
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, July 11
CPS fires company that leased school lots for paid Cubs parking for not paying its bills
Lauren FitzPatrick and Tim Novak, Chicago Sun-Times, July 9

In today’s Leading News, read the first round of reaction to last week’s updates from the CDC, IDPH, and ISBE to guidance for the safe return to school.
CDC Updates Guidelines To Protect Kids From COVID In School
Sheila Mulrooney Eldred, NPR, July 9
Local school officials react to updated federal health guidelines for K-12 learning
Katie Finlon, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, July 10
As Illinois eases COVID-19 school rules, teachers unions stress the need for unvaccinated kids to keep wearing masks
Tracy Swartz and Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, July 9
Vaccinated teachers and students don't need masks, CDC and Illinois health officials agree
Mike Stobbe and Collin Binkley, AP/Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, July 9
Illinois guidance changes to allow vaccinated students not to mask in school
Eric Peterson, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 9
In today’s Leading News, a milestone for Illinois in the efforts against coronavirus. Meanwhile, school districts continue efforts towards educating safely as the state emerges from the pandemic.

Illinois reports no new COVID-19 deaths for first time since March 2020: ‘Thank god for the vaccines’
Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun Times, July 6

Area superintendents petition governor for local control
Dave Hinton, the News-Gazette, Champaign, July 7

Jennifer Gill, other Illinois superintendents still awaiting COVID guidance from ISBE
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, July 7

After remote learning, special education district adjusts to fill schools gap
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, July 2

Will Illinois public schools require your child to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat/Bloomington Pantagraph, July 4
In today’s Leading News, Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 looks at kindergarten options. Danville CCSD 118 deploys buses to deliver summer meals. Hillsboro CUSD 3 faces OMA questions. After controversy, a THSD 214 school resource officer will be back on the job. Also in the news, Mattoon CUSD 3 seeks facilities updates.
District 64 officials exploring full-day kindergarten options
Russell Lissau, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 5
D118 uses buses to distribute food
Jennifer Bailey, Danville Commercial-News, July 1
Illinois AG investigates Hillsboro school board after public speaks at closed meeting
Ryan Mahan, State Journal-Register, Springfield, July 2
Mount Prospect cop will continue as school resource officer after initially being reassigned over ‘thin blue line’ controversy
Zach Harris, Chicago Tribune, July 1
Board approves Mattoon High School sports facilities upgrade
Rob Stroud, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, June 30
In today’s Leading News, read coverage of the questions and answers surrounding coronavirus pandemic recovery in school districts. The state’s bond rating gets a boost, credited to “material improvement in the state’s finances.” Also in the news, discussion continues as CPS moves toward elected school board members.
'We all want kids to be safe': With reopening coming, school leaders want guidance from state
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 1
Latest CDC study tells us what we already know about Illinois’ learning disparities
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, July 3
School districts waiting for answers on any student, staff vaccination requirements
Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree, Jacksonville Journal-Courier, July 6
Pritzker credits fiscal prudence for Illinois' first bond rating upgrade in two decades
Dean Olsen, State Journal-Register, June 29
Rocky Path Ahead as Chicago Set to Get Elected School Board
NBC 5, Chicago, July 3
In today’s Leading News, school districts in Illinois seek answers to the questions pending about back-to-school in the fall.
School districts set to receive COVID-19 guidance this month for fall school year
Eric Schelkopf, Kane County Chronicle, July 1
Illinois schools lagged behind most other states in access to in-person learning during pandemic: report
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune/Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, June 29
Some parents raise concerns about continuing mask mandate in schools
Ben Szalinski, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, June 22
Illinois superintendents press state for decision on social distancing, quarantining, masks in schools
Samantha Smylie, Chalkbeat Chicago, June 2
Will Kids Wear Masks In School Come Fall? Here's Where Each State Stands
Kinsey Gidick, Romper, June 19

Leading News

IASB's News Clip Service

The links to articles posted here are selected daily from news sources across Illinois, and sometimes beyond, provided as a service to our membership. These links go directly to the original source (print, broadcast, or online media) of the article. The purpose of sharing these links is to give readers of this site a wider perspective on state and local issues impacting public education. IASB neither endorses nor verifies the content.