February 2022 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, the next step towards the next normal, as schools will join the rest of the state in removing most mask mandates.

Illinois COVID-19 mask mandate ending for most indoor spaces
Associated Press, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, February 28

Where will masks still be required?
State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 22

Illinois’ indoor mask mandate ends Monday. Here’s what to know
James T. Norman, Shaw Media, February 27

Pritzker halts Illinois’ school mask mandate with arrival of new CDC guidance
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 25

About face? Pritzker to end school mask edict Monday — after CDC eases guidelines and court denies appeal
Chicago Sun-Times, February 25

In today’s Leading News, efforts continue to “revamp” the teaching of reading. Also in the news, the board looks at boosting scholarship funds in Edwardsville CUSD 7. Danville CCSD 118 assesses project updates. Johnsburg CUSD 12 moves to pay down debt. Also in the news, outreach has mutual benefits for CHSD 218’s Eisenhower High School students and community.

Something I really needed’: States are revamping reading instruction. Illinois is just catching up.
Cassie Walker Burke, Chalkbeat Chicago, February 24

District 7 projects $1.9M opportunity in sponsorships
Julie Laakko Swanson, Edwardsville Intelligencer, February 24

Danville school board hears building project updates
Jennifer Bailey, Danville Commercial-News, February 19, 2022,

Johnsburg District 12 emerges from big drop in state funding after borrowing $53M over 11 years
Sam Lounsberry, Shaw Media, Northwest Herald, February 18

Eisenhower students get together to show some love to their elders, but find the group activity good for themselves too
Janice Neumann, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, February 23
In today’s Leading News, at national, state, and local levels, the education community addresses issues of student mental health, the teacher shortage, equity and inclusion, academic calendars, and filling in learning gaps.

Senate proposal looks to add mental health to curriculum, implement student mental health council
Lizzie Seils, WGEM, Quincy, February 22

State, local groups work to address Southern Illinois' teacher shortage
Marilyn Halstead, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, February 21

In Hinsdale 86, alleged ‘equity shaming’ fuels petition calling for superintendent’s District removal
Zareen Syed, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, February 23

Goodbye, traditional calendar: Peoria school district shortens summer break for 2023
Leslie Renken, the Journal Star, February 8

Rantoul schools add “office hours” to combat learning loss
Emily Hays, Illinois Newsroom, February 21
In today’s Leading News, more on mitigations, mandates, and masks.

How suburban schools are reacting to mask ruling
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 19

Mask ruling leaves dilemma for parents, schools, and state. What it means, how some will move on
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 21

Refusal to mask leads to abrupt cancellation and rescheduling of Peoria Public Schools board meeting
Paige Blanzy, WEEK, Peoria, February 22

Mask mandates now up to local school districts as Pritzker takes case to state Supreme Court
Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun-Times, February 18

Masks in Schools: Districts Get Caught Between Health Authorities and Parent Pushback
Sara Randazzo, Wall Street Journal, February 23
In today’s Leading News, read more conversation about last week’s mask and mitigation decisions, plus related action in the court system. Also in the news, updates on contract negotiations in Champaign CUSD 4 and Proviso THSD 209.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide school masking rule undone by courts. Here’s what happened.
Clare Spaulding, Rick Pearson, and Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, February 20

Parents against mask mandates bombard school districts with sham legal claims
Tyler Kingkade and Ben Collins, NBC News, February 21

Two CPS parents in school mask lawsuit say their kids were told to wear masks or leave Mount Greenwood school, want district held in contempt of court
Tracy Swartz and Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, February 14

After 'unproductive' bargaining session, Champaign teachers union takes action
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, February 22

Proviso Township students to return to class Tuesday as negotiations with teachers continue
WFLD-FOX 32 Chicago, February 20

In today’s Leading News, an Illinois Appellate Court has dismissed the state’s appeal over coronavirus mitigations. Teachers in Proviso THSD 209 have, after an offer from the district, postponed Friday’s strike. Also in the news, some school districts remain closed, others e-learning, after Thursday’s ice and snow.

Illinois court dismisses appeal over school masks; districts no longer mandated to require them
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, February 18

Illinois court says students can continue to go maskless in some school districts
Susie An, Caroline Kubzansky, WBEZ, Chicago, February 18

Appellate court rules school mask mandate expired, tosses Pritzker's appeal
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 18

Proviso Teachers Union Postpones Friday’s Strike
Michael Romain, Village Free Press, Maywood, February 17

Weather related closings/delays for Friday, February 18
Illinois Newsroom, February 18

In today’s Leading News, rain, sleet, and snow disrupt the week for Illinois schools. Somonauk CUSD 432 and Leland CUSD 1 moved to present consolidation on the ballot. The Tribune looks at teacher shortage related legislation that aims to see more retired teachers back into the classroom. Also in the news, there is good news on the state COVID-19 numbers.
Area set for another bout of winter
Chris Breach, Kankakee Daily Journal, February 16
What's the latest snow prediction for Thursday in Peoria? Hint: It's gone up
Nick Vlahos, Peoria Journal Star, February 17
Leland, Somonauk school consolidation question will be on June 28 ballot
Derek Barichello, Ottawa Times, February 15
Legislation would make it easier for CPS to hire retired educators in effort to address teacher shortage
Clare Spaulding, Chicago Tribune, February 11
Illinois COVID-19 hospitalizations decline to mid-November levels
John Sahly, Shaw Media, February 16

In today’s Leading News, the coronavirus beat goes on.

JCAR votes to object the mask rule
Mark Maxwell, WCIA, Champaign, February 15

Face rule slapped down — Panel rejects Pritzker’s attempt to reintroduce emergency mask mandate for schools
Taylor Avery, Chicago Sun-Times, February 15

Mask-optional policies questioned as children and teens lead in new Illinois COVID-19 cases
Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 14

Gifford school bus driver quits over new mask-optional policy
Debra Pressey, Champaign News-Gazette, February 16

3 Central Illinois school districts named in COVID-19 lawsuit; Unit 5 board to consider mask-optional plan
Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, February 15
In today’s Leading News, a national Reuters investigation counts over 200 incidences of intimidation of school board members. Meanwhile, the work of boards of education carries on.

School boards get death threats amid rage over race, gender, mask policies
Gabriella Borter, Joseph Ax. and Joseph Tanfan, Reuters, February 15

Shorewood state lawmaker’s bill to help ease teacher shortage OK’d by committee
Alex Ortiz, Joliet Heald Tribune, February 11

District 25 full-day kindergarten would require building additions, and maybe moving fifth graders to middle schools
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 5

Decatur board not on the hook for final payment for superintendent search firm
Scott Perry, Decatur Herald and Review, February 11

Lake View school — renamed to honor Harriet Tubman instead of racist biologist — unveils new sign
Chicago Sun-Times, February 14

In today’s Leading News, the Daily Herald outlines the mask mandate TRO. Also in the news, districts work through contract negotiations.
How downstate judge's mask ruling sowed confusion in schools across suburbs, state
Jake Griffin and Tom Colins, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 12
Champaign teachers union to host forums on contract topics
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, February 4
Riverdale District 133 teachers authorize a strike while contract talks continue
Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, February 13
Tentative agreement’ reached by Sycamore teachers’ union, school district for labor contract
Kelsey Rettke and Katrina J.E. Milton, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, February 11
‘Our Patience Has Run Out’ — Proviso Teachers Union Sets Feb. 18 Strike Date
Michael Romain, Village Free Press, Maywood, February 13

In today’s Leading News, read back-and-forth reactions to the changing phases of mask mandates and coronavirus mitigations. Also in the news: old-school dilemmas ─ school lunches and football playoffs ─ never go out of style.
Reactions mixed to Pritzker's plan to end state mask mandate on Feb. 28
Ethan Simmons, Debra Pressey, Champaign News-Gazette, February 9
Pediatric experts: Masks are key to preventing COVID-19 infections at school
Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 10
Drop school mask mandates too, Republicans tell Pritzker
Taylor Vidmar, Bloomington Pantagraph, February 9
'A race to the bottom': Complaints about school lunches in Peoria reignite calls for change
Leslie Renken, Peoria Journal Star, February 9
Why the IHSA ditched its old football playoffs seeding system for a new one
Matt Trowbridge, Rockford Register Star, February 9

In today’s Leading News, the governor has announced a rollback of the mask requirements – what does it mean for schools?

Does Pritzker’s plan to lift mask mandate end the debate in Illinois schools?v
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, February 9

Gov. J.B. Pritzker will lift indoor mask mandate on Feb. 28, but rules will remain in place for schools
Dan Petrella, Clare Spaulding, and Joe Mahr, Chicago Tribune, February 9

Bevis, NAACP respond to school board mask decisions
Meredith Melland, Kankakee Daily Journal, February 8

Teachers unions urge schools to maintain agreed-upon mask requirements
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 8

Mask drama at Sycamore school board moves meeting to virtual format without public
Katrina J.E. Milton, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, February 9


In today’s Leading News, from ambiguity to chaos, read more action and reaction relating to last Friday’s judicial  temporary restraining order on coronavirus mitigations in schools.
What to know about the ruling on Illinois school mask mandate lawsuit and what's next
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 7
Illinois attorney general appeals school mask ruling
John O’Connor, AP/Decatur Herald and Review, February 7
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker says court ruling on school COVID rules ‘cultivates chaos’
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, February 7
What legal experts are saying about the school mask ruling
Jake Griffin, the Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 8
Around the area: 25 school districts keep mask rules in place, 14 go optional route following court ruling
Jeff D’Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, February 8

In today’s Leading News, NPR Illinois updates the litigation over coronavirus mitigations for school districts, and districts respond to last Friday’s news.

Pritzker to fight Springfield judge's ruling voiding school mask mandate, K-12 staff vaccine-or-test requirement
Hannah Meisel, NPR Illinois, February 4

Masks will stay on in CPS classrooms despite downstate judge’s ruling against mandates
Sophie Sherry, Chicago Sun-Times, February 5

Masks now optional at Mahomet-Seymour, Salt Fork, GCMS, elsewhere; Danville goes remote over 'lack of clarity' in judge's ruling
Jeff D’Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, February 7

Suburban school districts scramble to resolve mask question as students return to class
Charles Keeshan,  Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 6

Some Southern Illinois schools lift mask requirements as judge blocks mandate
Les O’Dell, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, February 7

In today’s Leading News, read the first takes on Friday’s mask mandate TRO. Also in the news, school district negotiations and filings continue in Sycamore CUSD 427 and Proviso THSD 209.

DeVore: School districts like Springfield 'on notice,' don't have authority to enforce masks
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, February 6

Illinois judge blocks school mask mandate, state to appeal
AP/Belleville News-Democrat, February 6

Downstate judge finds in favor of parents who object to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s school mask mandate; CPS says COVID-19 protocols will continue
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, February 6

Sycamore teachers’ union files intent to strike amid stalled negotiations
Kelsey Rettke, Dekalb Daily Chronicle, February 5

Proviso teachers union votes to strike
Michael Romain, Forest Park Review, February 1
In today’s Leading News, continuing to cope with coronavirus.

Illinois school districts call for ‘off ramp’ from masking and quarantines, with a ‘measured return to normalcy’
Karen Ann Cullotta and Joe Mahr, Chicago Tribune, February 2

East St. Louis parents hold another protest to demand a remote learning option
DeAsia Paige, Belleville News-Democrat, February 1

'It's not just teachers in front of kids': How suburban schools have dealt with the omicron surge
Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 2
School officials weigh in on in-person learning during case surge
Helen Spencer, McDonough County Voice, January 28

Determining health of the school: East Dubuque officials discuss COVID concerns
Brandon Behlke, Galena Gazette, January 24
In today’s Leading News, read about the Governor’s proposed budget and its potential impacts on education. The wintery weather across the state creates conundrums. Also in the news, a look at a plan for early childhood services.

What’s in Pritzker’s proposed budget?
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/WGLT, Normal, February 2

Pritzker proposes 5.4% increase to education funding in 2023 budget
Samantha Smylie and Cassie Walker Burke, Chalkbeat Chicago, February 2

School districts under fire for staying open amid snowstorm
Kevin Schmit, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 2

Amid a pandemic, meaning of school ‘snow day’ goes adrift
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, February 2

Birth to Five Illinois is creating councils to look at services for children
Marilyn Halstead, The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, February 2
In today’s Leading News, statewide conversations include budget, bills including movement on a teacher shortage bill, and awaiting a mask mandate decision. Also in the news, continued disruptions stress educators across the nation.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker to dangle tax relief as part of his first reelection-year budget proposal
Dan Petrella and Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune, January 31

Highlighting bills recently introduced to the Illinois General Assembly
Shepard Price, Alton Telegraph, January 31

Illinois bills to address teacher shortage advance out of state Senate committee
Peter Hancock, CNI/State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 2

Ruling on legal challenge to school mask mandates could come soon
CNI/Quincy Herald-Whig, February 1

Cardona to educators: ‘I know you’re stretched’
Kalyn Belsha, Chalkbeat National, January 27
In today’s Leading News, February is Black History Month. Chalkbeat Chicago previews ed issues in the state legislature. The education community continues response to the ongoing educator shortage. More Illinois colleges are accepting the Common App. Also in the news, districts contemplate emergency days.

Teaching Black history: How educators in Illinois say it needs to evolve beyond the key figures
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 1

6 education issues to watch as Illinois’ legislative session heats up
Samantha Smylie, Chalkbeat Chicago, January 31

During ongoing educator shortage, some student teachers are stepping up as classroom subs
Lyndsay Jones, WGLT, Normal, January 31

Common App already boosting numbers at Illinois public universities
Connor Wood, Bloomington Pantagraph, January 30

School districts on plans for snow days
Sarah Lehman, WCIA, Champaign, January 31

Leading News

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