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A statement below from State Superintendent Dr. Ayala. Heritage will be issuing Draft #2 of our Return to Learning Plan based on this release and information this week.
We are sharing our Fall 2020 Learning Recommendations, developed with the generous help of 58 educators from across the state. These educators shared their time, energy, and wisdom to create a compass to guide all 852 Illinois districts through the uncharted terrain that lies ahead. The recommendations provide our collective hope and our aim to limit instructional loss, provide students with predictable structure and reliable routine, target learning gaps with additional supports, and offer all students opportunities for deep learning.
We want all students and caregivers to have access to quality educational materials and to maintain personal connections that support the whole child. We want all adults involved — educators and caregivers — to have clear information, ample resources, and a wealth of encouragement and compassion. Underpinning these recommendations is the need for critical and creative thinking and responsiveness to help ensure that each and every student continues to grow academically and personally.
The Fall 2020 Learning Recommendations provide instructional considerations for Multilingual Learners, students with special education needs, and students in different grade bands in three settings: in-person, remote, and blended.
I want to call your attention to three key pieces of this document. First, students shall receive at least five clock hours of instruction per day in any learning setting. We strongly recommend that at least 2.5 hours consist of synchronous learning with real-time instruction and interaction between students and their teachers. Second, school districts must provide remote learning services to any student upon request by their parent/guardian (or by the student’s request if they are 18 or older or emancipated). Third, we strongly encourage that all students in any district learning environment continue to receive equitable access to extracurricular activities.
We understand the difficulties that Illinois Elementary School Association and Illinois High School Association programs are facing due to COVID-19, and that many families have questions connected to youth sports. ISBE does not have oversight over these associations or organized sports activities outside of physical education. We do not have authority over the guidance directing the activities of these organizations and cannot respond on their behalf. Individuals with concerns about youth sports and other extracurricular activities will need to contact the IESA or IHSA directly.
I thank you for your continued partnership and for your dedication to the students of Illinois. I am incredibly grateful for and proud of your hard work in developing plans for fall.
Dr. Carmen I. Ayala
State Superintendent of Education
Illinois State Board of Education