Dr. Polyak Explains to the Leyden SD 212 Educational Community E-Learning Beginning on Monday, April 6th , Noting That It Is “Unlikely” That The Students Will Return To The Buildings This Academic Year


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Dr. Nick Polyak updates the Leyden Educational Community regarding what the future of education looks like for the remainder of this academic year at Leyden High School District 212 in a You Tube Presentation issued on Thursday, April 2, 2020 issued to the faculty and staff of Leyden High Schools.

 

Dr. Polyak advises everyone in his presentation that it is “unlikely that the District will be back in session in the buildings before the end of this (academic) year”.    Furthermore, there is future consideration as to whether summer school will be on line.   Over the next month the District leadership is going to be discussing the normal end of year activities such as the scholarship night, graduation, prom, retirement speeches, etc. and reach a conclusion as to how these “strange times” will impact these events.

Dr. Polyak notes in his message that the District has two major directions from the Illinois State Board of Education including the primary focus, to continue to provide meals and support the social emotional needs of the students  and secondly, continue to provide the students’ education in a way not harm the student, and acknowledge inherent equity issues that must be considered.

On Monday, April 6, 2020, the District’s education program will be transitioning from act of God Days to remote E-Learning days.  This means that this transition will go to grades being counting, but there will be no “F” grades only incompletes if the work cannot be completed.   The District has decided to continue to use letter grades to provide an incentive to the students.    Dr. Polyak hopes that every educational opportunity will help the students on a go forward basis.

The parents and students of Leyden High Schools will be receiving an email by the end of the day on Friday, April 3, 2020, explaining what the E Learning Days will look like during the month of April, 2020, when the Governor has directed that no school buildings are to be used in the education.   The District is also preparing videos for the parents and students to view explaining the rest of the school year.   All materials will be translated to a variety of languages, including Polish and Spanish.

All of the Leyden High School parents and students  should expect to see an email with information and links by the end of the day on Friday, April 3, 2020, regarding the E Learning Days commencing on Monday, April 6, 2020

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Leyden High School Remains Closed Until April 30, 2020 Per The Governor’s Order


#leydenpride #parents,

Yesterday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker extended both the “stay-at-home” order and school closures for the state, and they will now run through Thursday, April 30, 2020.

We will continue to provide continuity of instruction by presenting students with learning opportunities, and we are in the process of planning a transition to the Illinois State Board of Education’s guidelines as described in the recently released Remote Learning Recommendations. We will share additional details about the updates we are making to our Remote Learning Plans later this week.

Food service will continue at all locations as currently operating, see this schedule for full details.

As a reminder, all current information is available atwww.leyden212.org.

We know this is a very challenging time, and as the governor shared yesterday, this is a time of uncertainty and unrest for many. Please know that we are here to support our students, staff, families, and community in any way that we can. If you need resources or supports to help you, please reach out.

Thank you and be well,
Jason Markey
Principal
East Leyden High School

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In Person School Education Is Suspended for Another 30 Days—Awaiting Remote E-Learning Day Plan To Be Promulgated by Leyden and Norwood Park Area Schools Shortly


Today, Governor JB Pritzker announced that Illinois will continue its suspension of in-person instruction for another 30 days, through April 30. Governor Pritzker addressed students directly today, saying:

“I won’t try and tell you that texting and calling each other is the same as hanging out in the hallways or in the lunchroom. And I won’t try and tell you that a Zoom prom is the same as a real prom. I won’t try and tell you not to be sad about the lost goals and plans that you may have had for March and April. It’s okay to be sad. And if you do feel sad or frustrated or angry, whatever you feel, please let yourself feel that way. Don’t beat yourself up over being human. And if you’re experiencing overwhelming anxiety or you have a friend who is, and you need someone to talk to, there are resources available to you by phone and online through both ISBE and our Department of Human Services, as well as the city of Chicago.”

The Governor went on to encourage students to find ways to be of service in this crisis, as so many of our educators and administrators are modeling for them. I second the Governor in saying that while we are in the midst of a scary and uncertain time, we are also experiencing “a lesson in the fundamental goodness of people.”

As the Governor announced today, schools are now transitioning from Act of God Days to Remote Learning Days. All these days count toward the school year, and absolutely no days need to be made up. E-Learning Day Plan to ensure all students, including students with disabilities and English Learners, receive instruction and can communicate with their teachers. Remote learning will look different for every district and every school. You can use up to five Remote Learning Planning Days at any time to prepare and refine your approaches to remote learning.

We expect your plans to be tailored to your own districts, but please include a check-in or some method of accurately tracking “attendance.” This data will help teachers gauge which students may need additional outreach or support to engage in learning. Building in flexibility and inclusivity (rather than hard and fast times and deadlines) could encourage student participation.

Leyden High School SD 212, as well as all Leyden and Norwood Park Townships school districts will be promulgating Remote E-Learning Day Plans tailored specifically for each school district in the next several days.

School districts are considering whether in school education will reconvene before the end of academic year as well as considering mandatory summer school for this summer.

Posted in Afghanistan, IEP, Illinois, illinois politics, LASEC, Leyden, Leyden Area Special Education CoOp, Leyden High School Dostrict 212, Mannheim School District 83, Medical, Memorial Day, mental health, Norridge, Norridge School D80, Northlake, Pennoyer School District 79, polio, political satire, Pritzker, referendum, Rosemont, Rosemont School District 78, Roy F. McCampbell, Triton, Triton College, Union Ridge SD86, USCongress, vaccines, Villa Park, West Leyden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Education Students Could Lose With COVID-19 Stimulus Package


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, is the nation’s federal special education law. It provides funding, technical assistance and monitoring to ensure students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate education. With the new COVID-19 stimulus package, the U.S. Congress will provide Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos with the right to provide waivers to states for the IDEA implementation.
As a researcher in the area of education policy, I think this is extremely concerning. If DeVos’ past behavior has any predictive value for her future decisions related to equitable educational policies, then families of children with disabilities across the country should also be highly concerned.
During DeVos’ Senate confirmation hearings three years ago, she struggled to respond to basic questions posed by Sen. Tim Kaine about special education. She was asked whether schools that receive tax dollars should be required to meet IDEA requirements, to which she replied, “I think that is a matter that’s best left for states.” Under federal law, the Department of Education is responsible for monitoring IDEA compliance.

Texas serves as a perfect example of why federal oversight is critical. Recently, the Department of Education found that Texas created a policy that delayed or denied special education to eligible students and was also in violation of a federal statute prohibiting states from reducing funding for students with disabilities from year to year.
Additionally, just last year, a federal judge ruled that the Department of Education’s delay of a rule that required states to address racial disproportionality in special education was illegal. The Obama-era rule required districts to address policies and practices that lead to “significant disproportionality” in special education for students of color.
The Department of Education also planned to eliminate 29 programs and slash $17.6 million in funding for Special Olympics in the 2020 budget. U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan asked whether she knew how many students would be affected. DeVos replied, “I don’t know the number of kids.” The budget also included millions of dollars in cuts to the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults, the American Printing House for the Blind, and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
The country is now facing extreme challenges dealing with COVID-19, and states and districts will need flexibility and support in providing education to students with disabilities. Still, leadership and creditability to make such decisions are lacking.
Congress needs to reconsider providing DeVos with the power to grant waivers for IDEA implementation. Families need to join in solidarity with disability advocates and educators to demand special education remain intact and that stimulus money is directed toward preventing disruption of services.

The Department of Education needs to ensure districts and schools have the resources available to provide educational and other related services to students with disabilities. This includes additional funding for technology, new digital platforms, and low-tech options that might consist of activities and packets coupled with family-resource guides that can support instruction and services in the home.
The Department of Education should also begin planning to support the delivery of compensatory services for students with disabilities who are now unable to receive special education due to school closures. The population of students with disabilities that will need to make up missed services at the public’s expense will be too burdensome for many rural and urban districts, particularly those in low-income communities.
IDEA was put in place to ensure that students with disabilities have access to a “Free and Appropriate Education.” As school leaders and teachers scramble to consider innovative ways to provide remote instruction to students with disabilities, ensuring that provisions are in place to prioritize protections for these vulnerable populations is more important than ever.
Rather than allowing DeVos to be the gatekeeper of how states allocate resources for students with disabilities during this time of crisis, the federal government must help students with disabilities and their families at a critical moment. Our students with disabilities deserve their right to a free and appropriate public education and must be protected from a harmful disruption of services.

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US Department Of Education Directives for Special Education Services During E-On Line Education Services


www.linkedin.com/posts/ugcPost-6648608000875524097-SmKF

Posted in Corona Virus, Covid-19, East Leyden, Franklin Park, I 294, IEP, Illinois, illinois politics, Leyden High School Dostrict 212, Mannheim School District 83, mental health, Norridge, Norridge School D80, Northlake, Pennoyer School District 79, politics, referendum, Rosemont School District 78, Roy F. McCampbell, Schiller Park School District 81, Uncategorized, Union Ridge SD86, West Leyden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ISBE Closes All Schools Statewide with E Learning Resuming—Leyden High Schools E-Learning Resumes on April 6th


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Leyden High Schools will not be resuming in class classroom learning as originally scheduled on April 7, 2020, due to a statewide shut down of all schools.    Leyden High Schools will resume their E-Learning days commencing on April 6, 2020.   Further information will be distributed by SD 212 to the students and the parents of the District.   This will also apply to all of the other grammar and high schools in Leyden and Norwood Park Township;  in fact the entire State of Illinois school system will begin Remote Learning Days for all schools statewide commencing on March 31, 2020, or whenever they are slated to return from Spring Break,  and continuing until in person instruction it has been determined can resume.

In my blog article on March 24, 2020, I advised everyone that the resumption of classes on April 7th for the Leyden High Schools was highly unlikely, see my link to that story

https://royfmc.com/2020/03/24/illinois-state-board-of-education-very-real-possibility-school-closure-will-be-extended-beyond-march-30-and-possibly-beyond/

Even though they are not stating it at this time, it is now clear and extremely doubtful that classes will not resume until August, 2020 for the beginning of the next school year.

The Illinois State Board of Education has been stating that this will not obstruct the graduation of seniors and every effort will be made that the high school seniors will be able to earn their diplomas.

MORE INFORMATION IN THE LETTER POSTED BELOW FROM THE ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, SUPERINTENDENT:

 

You will see below the letter that has been distributed by the Illinois State Board of Education.  

 

I have declared that Remote Learning Days will begin for schools statewide on March 31 and continue until in-person instruction can resume. Please continue to send any questions you have to COVID19@isbe.net. 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 http://www.isbe.net/Documents/23-5RG-E.pdf.   Over the past week, 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.    I am deeply grateful to the 63 members of our 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. View the Remote Learning Recommendations at www.isbe.net/Documents/RL-Recommendations-3-27-20.pdf.

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 http://www.isbe.net/Documents/Joint-DualCredit-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 our joint guidance regarding pay and work at http://www.isbe.net/Documents/Joint-Statement-Updated%20327-20.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. We recognize 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 http://www.isbe.net/Documents/FAQ-3-27-20.pdf I know this is not the way that any of us envisioned this school year going. But I continue to be awed by the phenomenal creativity, resilience, empathy, and problem-solving prowess of Illinois’ educators, administrators, and students. The stories I see every day on social media, in the news, and in my email show me just how focused our educators are on supporting our children in this time of crisis.

A story that appeared this week in a Springfield newspaper highlighted the ways teachers from preK to AP calculus are engaging with their students through remote learning. One middleschool teacher even called every family on the phone to check in. Her name happens to be Jill Friday.

Like you, we are eager for life to return to normal, but keeping our communities safe must be our shared priority at this time. I am confident we will get through this together. And once this pandemic is past, we will certainly savor football games, choir concerts, and Fridays even more.

Sincerely,
Dr. Carmen I. Ayala

State Superintendent of Education

Illinois State Board of Education

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala has declared that Remote Learning Days will begin for schools statewide on March 31 and continue until in-person instruction can resume. Learn more about Remote Learning Days at https://www.isbe.net/Documents/ISBE-Remote-Learning-Days-Begin-March-31.pdf.

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. View ISBE’s emergency rules at http://www.isbe.net/Documents/23-5RG-E.pdf.

Schools may use five Remote Learning Planning Days at any time after March 30 to plan in partnership with collective bargaining units. Act of God Days, Remote Learning Days & Remote Learning Planning Days count as student attendance days and absolutely do not need to be made up.

ISBE convened a Remote Learning Advisory Group of teachers, students, paraprofessionals, related service personnel, principals, and district/regional superintendents to make recommendations during Remote Learning Days. View the recommendations at https://www.isbe.net/Documents/RL-Recommendations-3-27-20.pdf.

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” & that school districts adopt grading models of pass or incomplete.

We are 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!

ISBE, IBHE, and ICCB issued guidance to advise secondary and postsecondary institutions in Illinois on supporting and accommodating students who are enrolled in dual credit courses: http://www.isbe.net/Documents/Joint-Dual-Credit-Guidance-During-Suspension-of-In-Person-Instruction.pdf

ISBE, IFT, IEA, IASA, and IPA updated our joint guidance regarding pay and work during the suspension of in-person instruction. View the guidance at https://www.isbe.net/Documents/Joint-Statement-Updated%203-27-20.pdf.

Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-15 suspends state assessments for spring 2020, including the Constitution exam. This action officially ends assessment activity statewide for the IAR, ISA, SAT, and DLM-AA. View the EO at https://www.isbe.net/Documents/EO2020-15.pdf.

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. Look for new info on Remote Learning Days, driver’s education, nutrition, flexibility in grant funds, and ECBG recipients providing child care to children of essential workers. View the guidance at https://www.isbe.net/Documents/FAQ-3-27-20.pdf.

We know this is not the way that any of us envisioned this school year going. But we continue to be awed by your phenomenal creativity, resilience, empathy, and problem-solving prowess. The stories we see every day on social media and in the news inspire and motivate us 💪.

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Dr Polyak Provides a Community Update


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Dear Leyden Community,
Over the past 24 hours we have been made aware of two additional cases of COVID-19 within the Leyden Community. One case involves a West Leyden student and the other case is an East Leyden parent. The student case is unrelated to the staff member we recently reported. We cannot and will not share any specific information about those individuals.
I have been in contact with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Cook County Health Department regarding both of these cases. After speaking with one of their epidemiologists, I was told that both cases are considered “low risk” to our school community. This is because we have been out of school for such a long period and because symptoms only presented themselves recently.
As our schools have now been closed for 14 days, we will not be giving any additional updates about new cases. We are currently relying on self-reported data and we cannot always confirm what we are hearing, nor can we be aware of cases that are not reported to us. Please refer to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for the most recent information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided substantial guidance on managing COVID-19; please check the CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov and talk with your personal healthcare provider if you have questions. In summary, the CDC notes:
Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and should recover at home. Older adults (over age 60 years) and people of any age with certain serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness and should seek care as soon as symptoms start.
Most people who have exposure to COVID-19 or have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 do not require testing for COVID-19. Right now, the IDPH is recommending testing only for individuals who require hospitalization or for people who are part of a cluster of two or more possible or confirmed cases in a residential setting, such as an assisted living facility, group home, homeless shelter or correctional setting. Depending on symptoms, exposure and testing availability, your personal healthcare provider may be able to arrange testing at a commercial lab.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Stay in isolation at home until at least seven days after symptoms started AND three days after fever resolves (without any fever medications like Tylenol) AND symptoms are getting better.
You can locate more information about COVID-19 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
Thank you for the efforts of everyone in the Leyden community.

As we enter spring break next week, please know that we will continue to provide breakfast and lunch as we have been for the past two weeks.
Sincerely,
Dr. Nick Polyak
Superintendent

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West Leyden Has A Staff Member Test Positive for COVID-19


In the interests of avoiding misinformation and the circulation of rumors that are bigger than the facts you will find the latest communication from Dr. Polyak as to a positive test for COVID -19 at West Leyden High School (Northlake, Illinois) in Leyden High School District 212

 

 

Dear Leyden Community,
Earlier today, we were notified that a staff member at West Leyden High School has tested positive for COVID-19. Upon receiving that information, I immediately contacted the Illinois Department of Public Health as well as the Cook County Health Department for their guidance. The well-being of our school community is always our number one priority.
The vast majority of the school and the district is considered at “low risk” for being potentially exposed to the virus. Those individual students or staff members who we believe were in close contact with the staff member are receiving an additional communication identifying them as a “medium risk” for exposure.
According to the Cook County Health Department, you should monitor yourself for any signs of illness until Friday, March 27, 2020, which is 14 days from the most recent possible contact with this individual. If you are experiencing any symptoms, you should contact your local health care provider.
Thank You,
Dr. Nick Polyak
Superintendent

 

There is some concern that in light of the information distributed by Dr. Polyak, that the Principal at East Leyden sent out an email earlier in the day that they had no information of anyone testing positive in the Leyden School District, that not all of the administrators are on the same page.   Clearly, the District needs only “one voice” to avoid this type of discrepancy being repeated.

I wish to express my sympathy and concern for the individual and their family in this trying time.

Posted in #leydenpride, Corona Virus, Covid-19, East Leyden, Economic Development, Franklin Park, Illinois, Illinois Pensions, illinois politics, LASEC, Leyden, Leyden High School Dostrict 212, Mannheim School District 83, Northlake, Pennoyer School District 79, Pritzker, Roy F. McCampbell, vaccines, West Leyden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Illinois State Board of Education: ‘Very real possibility’ school closure will be extended beyond March 30——And Possibly Beyond……………….


The Illinois State Board of Education advised school administrators this week that they should prepare for the “very real possibility” that the state will extend the mandated school closure order beyond March 30.
No timeline was provided for such a decision, though the ISBE said it would be made in consultation with public health officials.
The information was provided to school officials in a “Statewide School Closure Guidance Webinar” dated Tuesday. In its PowerPoint presentation, the ISBE encouraged every school and district to explore continuous learning opportunities and implement those best suited to them.

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Earlier this month, Pritzker announced that all public and private schools had to close between March 17 and March 30. During his daily press briefing Thursday, Pritzker seconded the ISBE’s warning of a possible school closure extension. He said that parents should be prepared for students to be out of school much longer. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Thursday that school would be out in that state until at least May 1. And on Wednesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said parents should expect that state’s three-week closure to be extended. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has signaled he’s also considering keeping kids home longer.

Across  Illinois, districts have mobilized to offer meals to students for pick-up at their schools, churches, public buildings, and even delivered to families’ doors. But bigger questions loom about how schools and students will be affected if the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates extension of the closure mandate by several more weeks or even through the end of the traditional academic year.

In its online presentation, along with preparing districts for a prolonged closure, ISBE suggested that they begin developing e-learning plans. The presentation did not offer a specific timeline for when the decision would be made, nor did it say how long beyond March 30 it would last if the closure is extended. Regional superintendents told The Southern that they expect to find out by the middle of next week.
Initially, ISBE said that school work conducted during the closure would not be graded, but that policy has been amended as the situation has evolved. The latest ISBE guidance says that school work can be counted, but only if it improves academic standing. It must not negatively impact students’ grades or academic standing.
Most Illinois school districts are providing online resources to parents to access educational materials so that students don’t regress academically. These are optional exercises for students.

School Districts are working on alternative educational opportunities for students without online access to distribute should the closures be extended

 
Speaking to reporters Thursday in Chicago, Pritzker and other state officials reported 134 additional COVID-19 cases and three new related deaths. In total, Illinois has reported 422 cases and four fatalities since January. Those numbers included one case each in the Southern Illinois counties of Williamson, Jackson and Washington. Local health department officials detailed the Jackson and Williamson counties cases Wednesday evening and Thursday morning respectively, but they are newly included in the state total Thursday afternoon. While the virus is highly contagious, the growth in reported cases is also partly due to greater availability of screening sites and testing.

Already, Southern Illinois University and some area community colleges have announced that they are moving to online and other distance learning platforms for the rest of the spring semester. SIU Carbondale also announced Thursday that it is canceling traditional spring commencement ceremonies. But institutions of higher learning are more equipped for distance learning, as most have been offering the option for years, even if not on such a massive scale.

Pre-K and K-12 schools face much steeper challenges with implementing e-learning.  Questions also remain about about how to ensure students with disabilities receive the supports and services they are entitled to under the law.
ISBE has acknowledged these and other challenges in directing schools not to allow any coursework completed during the closure to negatively affect grades.

 

It should be noted that  the situation is rapidly evolving and local school officials are doing the best they can to keep up with and adjust to the guidance from the state. Leyden and Norwood Park school districts have staff meeting  to begin making contingency plans for at-home learning opportunities if the closure extends beyond March 30 as many expect.

Leyden schools are not currently scheduled to have students return until April 7th,  but it is becoming more and more likely, that just as Chicago is not scheduled to reopen their schools until April 21, 2020, it is becoming clearer that the reopening of all Illinois schools will not occur until April 21, 2020 or later with consideration now being expressed that the Illinois schools will not reopen until August, 2020.

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Past Illinois Corruption Has Jeopardized The State Response to the Coronavirus 19 Pandemic, Today—–Governor Priztker Is In Denial and Continues as Part of the Problem Endangering the Residents


 

We all need to remember that Illinois politicians control the number of ventilators as well as ICU beds in long term planning through a process called the ; any crisis to care for those who need these assets are the victims of the political corruption of Illinois, and Governor Prizker can do all of the finger pointing, but he needs to look in the mirror and start there.

New York was the first state to enact a Certificate of Need (CON) law in 1964; 26 states enacted CON laws throughout the following decade. Early CON programs typically regulated capital expenditures greater than $100,000, facilities expanding their bed capacity and facilities establishing or expanding health care services.
In 1972, several states adopted Section 1122 waivers, which provided federal funding to states regulating new health care services receiving Medicare and Medicaid dollars. Congress then passed the National Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974 bolstering federal funding for state and local health planning regulations. The federal law required states to adopt CON laws similar to the federal model resulting in all states, except Louisiana, maintaining some form of a CON program by 1982. This meant states had broad regulatory oversight of several facilities—including hospitals, nursing and intermediate care facilities and ambulatory surgery centers—as well as the expansion or development of a facility’s service capacity.
The federal mandate was repealed in 1987, along with the associated federal funding. Subsequently, several states repealed or modified their CON laws.
State Legislative Actions
In the past several years, many states have introduced or enacted legislation to change their CON program. Changes range from fully repealing an existing CON program to creating a new CON program. The following are state examples of legislative actions impacting CON programs:
35 states currently maintain some form of CON program. Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia also have CON programs. States retaining CON laws often regulate outpatient facilities and long-term care. This is largely due to an increase in free-standing, physician-owned facilities.
Indiana enacted legislation in 2018 establishing a certificate of need program, which the state initially repealed in 1999.
Nine states—Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington—enacted legislation in 2019 to modify CON regulations for certain health facilities and services.
Three states—Arizona, Minnesota and Wisconsin—do not officially operate a CON program, but they maintain several approval processes that function similarly to CON.
12 states fully repealed their CON laws. New Hampshire was the most recent repeal, effective 2016.
Moratoria
As part of a CON program, some states may place certain health care facilities and facility beds on moratorium. This means a state planning agency will grant no CONs for certain facility capital expenditures. Moratorium regulations most often affect nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities.
Several states—including Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois and Virginia—have restrictions on the development or expansion of certain health care facilities and beds through a needs and utilization assessment process. While not an outright moratorium, a state planning agency may determine there is no need for additional health care facility beds or services in a particular county or district.

Now we need to remember how politics has controlled the delivery of health care in Illinois and now its haunts the care of our Illinois residents today.

Pamela Meyer Davis is a Hospital Administrator in capital letters. In 1988, she became the president and chief executive officer of Edward Hospital, in Naperville, Ill., near Chicago. She quickly built the sleepy institution into a regional health-care provider with cardiac services, a cancer center, a pediatric emergency department, residential care, and more. So in 2003 when she detected possible fraud in the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, she had no idea that she would add “undercover spy” to her résumé and help begin an investigation that eventually would lead to the arrest and indictment of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The night before Davis was to appear before the planning board to ask for approval for a new medical office building, she received a call from P. Nicholas Hurtgen, a senior managing director of Bear Stearns in Chicago, who told her to pull the project from review because, “I supposedly needed their advice and help in terms of signed contracts before this project would be approved,” she said. She had heard this type of pitch before, so she ignored the phone call.
The next day, the planning board soundly rejected Davis’ proposal and did so with “disdain, anger, and inappropriate questioning,” she said. After the vote, a Kiferbaum Construction Corp. executive came over to Davis and stated they had “told me to pull the project and that I should now understand they were serious about the fact that I would never be approved unless I entered into a construction contract with them,” she said.

Davis recognized their tactics as blatant extortion. “My inner voice – my instincts – were screaming and shouting that this was not something I could engage in,” she said. So she called 411 and got the number for the FBI.
The FBI was skeptical, but the bureau agreed to do some investigating. She invited Hurtgen and Jacob Kiferbaum, the owner of Kiferbaum Construction, to her hospital office to talk about the project. FBI agents had wired her and were listening in from a nearby van. After just a few minutes of discussion, they called her on her private line and said, “It’s extortion! Get them out!”
And so began Davis’ eight-month surveillance that would gather evidence to convict Hurtgen, Kiferbaum, and others, and help begin U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s Operation Board Games, which would lead him through a “pay to play” scheme all the way to the governor’s office. Blagojevich’s trial is slated for June 2010.
The ACFE presented the 2009 Cliff Robertson Sentinel Award to Davis at the 20th Annual Fraud Conference & Exhibition for her courage and tenacity in pursuing crooked state officials. The inscription on the award reads, “For choosing truth over self.”

Interview below best explains the politics that now threatens the health care of every citizen in Illinois today, this week, this month:
What kept you from agreeing to any kind of deal with the administrators of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board and Kiferbaum Construction Inc.?
As the president and CEO of a not-for-profit organization that provides health-care services to a population of more than a half million people, it is my responsibility to ethically and appropriately manage the resources to fulfill the mission of providing health-care services to the individuals in our service area. So I will not, and cannot, compromise the trust placed in me by our board of trustees to honestly and ethically fulfill my responsibilities as CEO. My ethical standards did not allow me to consider making a deal with the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board or any individual involved in the extortion attempt on Edward Hospital.
I read that the FBI agents first thought you were a crank. When did they realize you were most definitely not?
The FBI agents, after listening to an initial meeting in my office with Nicholas Hurtgen and Jakob Kiferbaum, acknowledged that my instincts were probably correct, and they became exceedingly interested in gaining more information to determine the extent of corruption.
What advice did the FBI agents give you during the surveillance? Did the agents counsel you on how to converse with the suspects? How did you hand off the tapes to the agents? Did they continue coaching you through the process?
The FBI gave me broad latitude to converse with many of the subjects under review. Following each meeting, I handed off the tape to the FBI agents in a variety of locations including their home office, restaurants, Marshall Field’s department store, and my office. I was, and am, exceedingly angry toward the corrupt businessmen. However, after spending time with them in a variety of settings and hearing about their families, I began to develop a sense of deep sadness about the impact of their corrupt behaviors on their spouses and children.

Maintaining secrecy during my undercover work required isolating myself from conversations with staff. I would walk away from encounters with innocent people who inadvertently were being recorded due to my work with the FBI. I was required by law not to discuss this case with anyone unless I received a court order to do so. Ultimately, I was able to share my situation with the chairman of the hospital’s board of trustees, who was extremely supportive.
During your May 5 testimony to the Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Government Reform, you said that “pay to play” schemes have been targeted at hospitals because the “temptation for corruption is huge.” How should the Illinois system be overhauled? Are other hospitals nationwide put in these untenable positions? Should the federal government step in?
I believe that planning for health-care services is best left to health economists and health planners. The Illinois legislature recently passed a law that reforms the Illinois Certificate of Need [CON] program. However, even with the changes recently passed, the CON process is still broken because it essentially protects the status quo as opposed to allowing the health-care services to respond to normal market conditions. There have been numerous reviews of the economic impact of CON and, to date, there have been no documented savings in health-care costs that are attributable to the CON process.
What were some amusing moments of your surveillance for the FBI?
The FBI agents told me they had never eaten better in their lives at the restaurants I was taking them to for surveillance! Unfortunately, sometimes I received some unwanted advances. One man, trying pick me up at one restaurant, asked if I was alone, although there were more than 20 agents in the room at the restaurant who would be listening to every word he said!
When and what caused you to stop surveillance work for the FBI?
I abruptly stopped working undercover with the FBI when my story was leaked to the Chicago Sun Times. I still don’t know to this day who or how that information was leaked, but it immediately stopped my working communication with the FBI. I did not have any meaningful additional interaction with the FBI again until I reviewed my recorded tapes in preparation for the trial of Nicholas Hurtgen with Bear Stearns. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty and I was not required to testify at his trial.
Before you were involved in the FBI surveillance, did you have any inkling that such corruption existed in the Illinois hospital construction approval process?
I had been aware of the widespread corruption in Chicago. I have never personally been involved in corruption and was shocked and appalled at the arrogance of the “bad guys” and the arrogance of the demands made upon me. I was also shocked that other executives had experienced these illegal approaches but either agreed to the extortion schemes or said no, but failed to report it to the appropriate authorities. I firmly believe that all of us, as responsible citizens, must take a stand against corruption or we will lose the very freedoms that make America a strong and wonderful country.
Have you ever received approval to expand Edward Hospital into Plainfield, Ill., which was the project request that first started all this?
As of today, Edward Hospital has received approval to develop many outpatient services at our Plainfield location. We currently have a medical office building and an immediate care center, which has been converted into a 24-hour emergency room. Construction is underway on a major cancer center on this site, and we also run an outpatient surgery center. The proposal for inpatient hospital beds still has not been approved, but we continue to submit Certificate of Need applications to complete our development of health-care services for the ever-expanding population of Plainfield.
How do you feel about your role in getting the ball rolling that led to Fitzgerald’s Operation Board Games and the exposure of Illinois political corruption?

What are your thoughts now that the investigation has led to alleged crimes in the highest elected office in Illinois?
I feel a sense of pride in my work with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. I have developed a deep respect for the consistent and excellent work provided by these individuals. As for myself, I had faced stress before, but nothing on this scale. I really had two jobs at the same time – the president and CEO of Edward Hospital, and working covertly for the FBI.
When working with unethical people, it definitely takes a toll on your outlook of the world. I began to be paranoid and began to distrust individuals and large businesses. I became concerned about the safety of my family, and I had to distance myself from the people I worked with because I didn’t want to tape any conversations inadvertently of innocent people who had routinely talked with me both on a personal and professional level.
I have since recovered my sense of equilibrium and positive outlook. I once again do believe that most people are, in fact, good and trustworthy. Individuals sometimes fail to recognize that each and every one of us can make a difference in how we live our lives and the impact we have on others. Because of the way most people live their lives in quiet anonymity, it becomes easier to simply turn away from taking a stand against evil. But with increasing awareness of unethical behavior and the concomitant negative impact on business, many people are now willing to do the right thing. I am confident that justice will prevail in spite of marginal players.
What prevents other people in your position from having the gumption to blow the whistle on fraudsters?
The individuals who tried to extort Edward had vast experience and many years of extorting many other individuals and companies. Why no one stood up and exposed them, why others went along with their schemes, why many simply said no, but didn’t report them – I don’t know. As I shared with the attendees of the ACFE Annual Fraud Conference, I do believe that a well-known quote by Edmond Burke sums it up for me: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
What advice would you give would-be sentinels?
Every individual citizen can make a difference in the way our society works. I believe that individuals have a responsibility to behave in an ethical manner and then, more importantly, only through individual action so we can protect the freedoms that we so cherish in America. I believe the rewards of doing the right thing more than offset the perils of being a whistle-blower. In the end, the satisfaction of having done the right thing far outweighs the short-term stress of working undercover.
Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, founder and Chairman of the ACFE, began the association in 1988 to train fraud examiners to not just investigate fraud but to help deter it. You’re not a fraud examiner, but you’ve demonstrated many characteristics of one.

Can you give our members some encouragement as they persevere in uncovering fraud and amassing evidence?
I am a firm believer that most people are, in fact, good both in personal relationships as well as in the business area. I also believe that due to many high-profile indictments in Illinois, that we are looking at a future that will not tolerate continued corruption in our government and business. I am optimistic that there are many, many people who are willing to stand up and be herd and who will, through our voting process, ensure that future leaders are ethical.

 

 

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