photo from ISBE.net

In accordance with an executive order from Governor JB Pritzker on Friday, the Illinois State Supt. of Education issued a declaration that Remote Learning Days will be required to begin for schools statewide on Tuesday and will continue until in-person instruction can resume.

A statement from the Illinois State Board of Education also reiterated that the two weeks of "Act of God' days, for missed due to COVID-19 will not have to be made up. The previous statewide order keeps schools closed to in-person learning until at least April 7th.

ISBE officials say during Remote Learning Days, schools may implement either an E-Learning Plan or a Remote Learning Day Plan that provides students with instruction and access to educators through whatever means possible.

Schools may use up to five Remote Learning Planning Days at any time after Monday to work on Remote Learning Day Plans in partnership with their collective bargaining units.

Some schools have already started e-learning or remote learning instruction while others have not, particularly in districts where plans have had to have been made for students without access to Internet.

ISBE says the remote learning recommendations  strongly encourage that school districts’ local grading policies during Remote Learning Days embrace the principle of “no educational harm to any child” and that school districts adopt grading models of, "pass or incomplete."

Other topics covered under Friday's executive order include the suspension of state assessments for spring 2020. ISBE  also released joint guidance with the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Illinois Community College Board to advise secondary and postsecondary institutions in Illinois on supporting and accommodating students who are enrolled in dual credit courses during the suspension of in-person instruction.

ISBE also met with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Principals Association to update the joint guidance regarding pay and work for educators.

You can view the entire statement, below:

SPRINGFIELD – State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala declared today that Remote Learning Days will begin for schools statewide on March 31 and continue until in-person instruction can resume. During Remote Learning Days, schools may implement either an E-Learning Plan or a Remote Learning Day Plan that provides students with instruction and access to educators through whatever means possible. Schools may use up to five Remote Learning Planning Days at any time after March 30 to work on Remote Learning Day Plans in partnership with their collective bargaining units.

Remote Learning Days, Remote Learning Planning Days, and Act of God Days count as actual student attendance days. All of these days count toward the minimum length of the school year and absolutely do not need to be made up. View ISBE’s emergency rules for Remote Learning Days at www.isbe.net/Documents/23-5RG-E.pdf.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) convened a Remote Learning Advisory Group of teachers, students, paraprofessionals, related service personnel, principals, and district and regional superintendents to make recommendations to support educators, students, and families during Remote Learning Days. The recommendations provide overarching best practices for instruction, grading, communication, social-emotional needs, content selection and delivery, family engagement, and other important concerns, as well as specific guidance for different grade bands, English Learners, and students with disabilities.

View the Remote Learning Recommendations at www.isbe.net/Documents/RL-Recommendations-3-27-20.pdf.

“I am deeply grateful to the 63 members of the Remote Learning Advisory Group for giving their time and their expertise to help ISBE and schools across the state navigate a new way of teaching, learning, and caring for our students,” said Dr. Ayala. “We continue to be awed by the phenomenal creativity, resilience, empathy, and problem-solving prowess of Illinois’ educators, administrators, and students. The stories we see every day on social media, in the news, and in our email show us just how focused our educators are on supporting our children in this time of crisis.”

The Remote Learning Recommendations strongly encourage that school districts’ local grading policies during Remote Learning Days embrace the principle of “no educational harm to any child” and that school districts adopt grading models of pass or incomplete.

The Recommendations state that “Grading should focus on the continuation of learning and prioritize the connectedness and care for students and staff. All students should have the opportunity to redo, make up, or try again to complete, show progress, or attempt to complete work assigned prior to the remote learning period in that time frame. A focus on keeping children emotionally and physically safe, fed, and engaged in learning should be our first priority during this unprecedented time.”

ISBE has partnered with other agencies and advocates to provide additional clarity on other key topics.

ISBE released joint guidance with the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Illinois Community College Board to advise secondary and postsecondary institutions in Illinois on supporting and accommodating students who are enrolled in dual credit courses during the suspension of in-person instruction. View this guidance at www.isbe.net/Documents/Joint-Dual-Credit-Guidance-During-Suspension-of-In-Person-Instruction.pdf.

ISBE also met with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Principals Association to update the joint guidance regarding pay and work at www.isbe.net/Documents/Joint-Statement-Updated%203-27-20.pdf.

Additionally, Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-15, issued today, suspends state assessments for spring 2020, including the Constitution exam. This action officially ends assessment activity statewide for the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, Illinois Science Assessment, SAT, and Dynamic Learning Maps-Alternate Assessment for the 2019-20 school year.

ISBE recognizes that the free SAT provided by the state is the only opportunity many students get to take a college entrance exam. ISBE is working with the College Board on developing options to allow current 11th grade students to take the SAT in the fall.

ISBE has refreshed its comprehensive guidance document with all of this information, as well as updated guidance on driver’s education, nutrition, flexibility in expending grant funds, and Early Childhood Block Grant recipients providing child care to the children of essential workers. View the comprehensive guidance at www.isbe.net/Documents/FAQ-3-27-20.pdf.

Find more information at www.isbe.net/covid19.