Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Carmen I. Ayala said parents should be prepared to continue homeschooling their children in the fall, as the state’s K-12 schools could remain closed.
Ayala, of west suburban Downers Grove, made the remarks during a Facebook Live interview with State Rep. Emanuel Welch (D-Westchester) on Tuesday.
“We may see the start of school (in Aug 2020) in a remote fashion,” Ayala said. “We may see a combination where some children are allowed to come to school on certain days, where we take the upper grades, we are able to spread them out in the school building with social distancing norms.”
“We just don’t know.”
Ayala said she is telling school districts superintendents to “have a plan A, a plan B and a plan C” for the fall. She suggested some districts might reserve their live teaching for the “most at risk, neediest students”, leaving the higher-achieving ones to learn on their own at home, assisted by their parents.
Public school students won’t have to make up lost school days for the 2019-20 school year, Ayala said.
Thousands of students ditching “E-learning”
Public schools across the state are reporting that large portions of their student bodies are simply ignoring “e-learning” efforts and checking out, as the state has made it clear grades won’t count for the semester.
Springfield’s Ball-Chatham School District 186 told WICS-TV Springfield that 80 percent of students are actively participating. Nearby Riverton School District 14 reported 71 percent of its students are checking in.
Peoria Public Schools are reporting a 54 percent participation rate, and as low as 34 percent at Peoria H.S., one of the districts’ three high schools.
In contrast, private schools like Fenwick H.S. in Oak Park and DePaul Prep in Chicago are reporting 100 percent participation rates. Grades will count at those schools, sources tell Prairie State Wire, and students are participating in Zoom video conferences and group chats daily, mimicking their in-person class schedules.
Illinois taxpayers spent approximately $29 billion on K-12 schools in the 2018-19 school year. There are approximately 190,000 public school teachers and administrators.