Most Illinois school kids will start the school year with remote learning. That’s according to an Illinois State Board of Education survey of administrators.
Of the districts responding, nearly 1.1 million students, roughly 62% of those enrolled, will do their work in an online-only mode. However, many districts have indicated they could reconsider a return to classroom instruction later in the fall.
There has been growing concern about the return of students to school buildings, which could lead to more spread of the coronavirus. The State Board put forward guidelines that include mask wearing, social distancing and cleaning protocols. Beyond that, the state is giving a nod to local control.
“I think it’s been very wise not to dictate one way or the other, because it can’t be done the same everywhere," said Mark Klaisner, President of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools. "I've had superintendents say to me they'd like to have all kids back in the classroom, but they just can't make it work. Some schools are able to do it and some aren't."
Gov. J.B. Pritzker indicated the state will give this approach a chance.
“We haven’t set any parameters yet for what it would take for us to simply say, across the board, we’re closing schools. That is not our aim and we’re hoping schools have done a good job following our guidelines,” Pritzker said.
The State Board survey also showed about 30% of students will have a blended curriculum of in-person and remote learning. Only 8% are goling back into classrooms full time.
When broken down by district, 44% are offering a blended curriculum, 28% remote only and 28% in- person.