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State education board unanimously approves in-person learning in fall

Dr. Ayala addressed the resolution in her weekly message column Tuesday.
Fall learning in-person
Fall learning in-person
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 4:03 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Illinois State Board of Education unanimously adopted a resolution in support of in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year on Wednesday.

You can view the resolution here. This resolution expresses support for State Superintendent Carmen Ayala and does not itself have any effect on policy. The policy will change when the superintendent makes the declaration requiring in-person learning. The superintendent currently is planning to finalize this declaration after the conclusion of the current academic school year, subject to favorable public health conditions at that time, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

At Wednesday’s meeting, board members backed a resolution supporting a declaration by the state superintendent of education, who was granted authority last year to declare when remote or blended learning days are necessary. The resolution notes that Illinois schools are receiving $7.8 billion in federal relief earmarked for ensuring the safe return to in-person instruction and addressing pandemic-related learning gaps, according to Patch.com.

The state superintendent’s authority under the laws cited lasts only as long as the governor’s ongoing disaster declaration remains active, according to the state laws.

State Superintendent Carmen Ayala said board members have suggested issuing more guidance to districts as soon as possible, as administrators are already planning staffing and budgetary decisions. She said ISBE had been encouraging schools to return to in-person learning for several months and is currently encouraging all students aged 12 and up to get vaccinated, according to Patch.com.

Dr. Ayala addressed the resolution in her weekly message column Tuesday, which is available here.

New guidance from the state public health department about coronavirus safety precautions in schools during Phase 5 of Gov. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan is forthcoming, according to the resolution.

School districts may provide remote learning through 105 ILCS 5/10-29 or create blended programs consisting of a combination of face-to-face and online learning through 105 ILCS 5/10-19.05(k)(4).

A recording of the meeting will be made available here.

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