* CTU press release…
Nearly 5,000 educators responded to a member-wide Chicago Teachers Union survey, issued in mid-June, which asked them to begin thinking about the conditions required for Chicago Public Schools to safely re-open in the fall without risking the health of students and their families, and school staff and communities. Caught between the gross ineptitude of Donald Trump’s U.S. Department of Education, and the uncertainty from Chicago Public Schools, more than 85 percent of CTU member respondents feel they should not or might not go back to work in the fall without a detailed plan and resources that will help guarantee the safe re-opening of our schools. […]
The Union is currently in negotiations with CPS on guarantees that schools will have what is necessary to open safely when appropriate. More than two-thirds of members surveyed said they would not return to work without masks, gloves and other PPE provided by the district, and required for everyone who enters a school building; the daily sanitizing of every surface in the building; a plan that would limit the number of students physically present in classrooms; class sizes that allow for students and staff to always be six feet apart; and multiple hand-washing stations throughout a building.
More than 85 percent of CTU member respondents feel they should not or might not go back to work in the fall without a commitment to school-based safety teams providing input on safety needs and plans; daily COVID-19 testing and temperature screening for everyone entering the building; a nurse or other health professional in every school, every day; remote learning options for particularly vulnerable students and staff; a transportation plan for students that involves distancing on school buses as well as Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains; and a social worker or counselor dedicated to helping students and staff in every school, every day.
Ninety-six percent of members said adequate devices and Internet connectivity for every student must be in place before returning to school, highlighting the digital void that exists for many Black and Brown students on the South and West sides of the city. Nearly 70 percent of rank-and-file members were not at all comfortable or mostly uncomfortable with the idea of medically compromised educators being forced to work in-person, in school in the fall.
Members in more than two dozen positions, from clinicians, social workers and special education, to art, Pre-K and PSRPs, submitted to the Union detailed concerns about what a return to in-person work must look like for their particular job and job duties.
Clinicians, for example, cited adequate space to meet with students (“i.e. not a closet”); special education teachers spoke of the need for PPE working in therapy situations or with students who do not comprehend social distancing (“Keeping students with autism or cognitive disabilities six feet apart will be a problem”); speech/language pathologists must have a way for their mouths to be visible to students so they can provide articulation therapy with speech sound errors; and primary teachers noted that “little people want to hug and they need a teacher’s touch,” while in Pre-K, keeping preschoolers social distant from one another may negatively impact them educationally, socially and emotionally.
School clerks, often in the most trafficked part of the building, should no longer be required to perform nurse duties of administering medicine or tending to injuries and illnesses.
* DuPage ROE press release…
The DuPage Regional Office of Education (ROE) announced that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have partnered with BloomBoard, a leading platform for educator advancement, to support DuPage County schools in providing effective blended instruction. The partnership will make BloomBoard’s Fall Readiness Program available to DuPage County school districts.
“As our schools make decisions on how best to educate students this fall, we welcome the opportunity to partner with BloomBoard to provide DuPage educators with a comprehensive professional learning option to prepare themselves for blended instruction,” said Darlene Ruscitti, regional superintendent of DuPage County Schools.
The advantages of BloomBoard’s programs will be two-fold: its Fall Readiness Program will coach educators to up-level their blended learning instruction to meet students’ academic and personal needs during this pandemic, and its micro-credentialing framework will provide districts a customizable continuing education program that can align with each districts’ needs long-term, support teacher growth, and lead to improved student outcomes.
* East Moline…
At their first in-person school board meeting since March, United Township High School Board members voted to approve a Return to Learn plan that will see students both on campus and learning remotely.
Administrators presented their plan Wednesday at a special meeting. Superintendent Jay Morrow said the blended learning approach would deliver high-quality education while prioritizing staff and student safety.
Administrators said they had been working since March to develop plans that prioritized as much face-to-face instruction while also adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health. […]
Morrow said busing would continue, with about 24 students, one for each seat, on each bus. Morrow said state guidelines allowed for 50 individuals in one space, but the district did not feel comfortable with that. He said he felt confident the district could manage with the reduced capacity.
* Near Peoria…
Nearly 95 percent of parents surveyed with children in Morton schools intend to send their children back to class in August despite the COVID-19 pandemic — according to the school district.
The results of that survey were shared with the school board on Tuesday by Superintendent Jeff Hill — where more than three-quarters of students had parents participate in the poll, upwards of 2,400 in all out of a total school population of approximately 3,100.
Hill said more than 64 percent of parents indicated that their children will return to school, without conditions. Another 30 percent said their kids would be present with certain stipulations.
According to the release, of that 64 percent, more than half said they felt strongly that students should be permitted to take a break from the mandatory wearing of masks at some point during the school day.
* On to ISU…
[Illinois State University President Larry Dietz] rolled out a list of safety measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, including a requirement for students, staff and faculty to wear face coverings in all campus facilities. The university will have a mix of classes that are online, face-to-face or a hybrid of both. […]
The fall semester will begin Aug. 17 and end Dec. 11, but all classes will be online after Nov. 20.
“This decision is being made in an effort to provide students who can stay home with the opportunity to do so and to de-densify campus immediately following fall break and the Thanksgiving holiday — when many students, faculty and staff visit with friends and family, as well as travel,” said Dietz.
To anyone considering taking in this weekend’s Greek Reunion activities, University of Illinois officials have a request: Don’t.
Danita Young, the UI’s vice chancellor for student affairs, wrote a lengthy letter to students detailing her concerns in advance of the annual event, set for today through Sunday.
“The continuing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic makes any large gatherings a significant risk for the spread of this deadly virus,” Young wrote.
The Greek Reunion has no status as a university-endorsed event. It isn’t sanctioned by the UI and has no ties to the school’s Fraternity and Sorority Affairs programming.
* Big Ten…
Almost four months after the college sports world halted because of the coronavirus pandemic, another seismic change happened Thursday.
Illinois, along with the rest of the Big Ten, will play a conference-only schedule with its fall sports teams this upcoming school year. That is, if it’s able to do so.
Those are the words from the Big Ten, which released a lengthy statement Thursday afternoon announcing the news but offering up no specifics.
No revised game schedules were released. No updates about whether fans would be able to attend said sporting events — again, if they even happen.
What’s happening in your own school districts and colleges?