As many fret over how to home school their children, a task that many parents admit they have never done, educators across the country – from pre-kindergarten through college – are trying to figure out how to handle a school year suddenly interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Colleges and universities have canceled graduation and commencement ceremonies, typically held in May or June. It is assumed that each student who has successfully matriculated will receive a diploma in the mail. Perhaps some even via the internet.
While remote learning continues in many schools, some colleges and universities have opted for students to decide if they want to have their final grades this semester be pass/fail.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker closed schools through at least April 30. Remote learning days will officially count as instructional days as school districts ramp up plans for schooling from home. That means that these days do not have to be made up given that Illinois requires 176 days of pupil attendance to qualify for state funds. Mandated school closure days in Illinois from March 17 to March 30 count as “Act of God” days and will not count towards those 176 required student attendance days and do not have to be made up at the end of the school year.
Pritzker canceled all standardized tests that include SAT and ACT entrance tests for juniors. In Illinois, students are required to pass a high-school level U.S. Constitution, Illinois Constitution and Flag test. By executive order issued by the Governor on March 27, those tests have been canceled. On March 19, Chicago Public Schools canceled all district-administered testing until April 21.
To view guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education on all of these changes, click here.
That means that remote learning is in place – with parents generally at home, that means homeschooling. Because everyone may not have the necessary tools to complete online learning, Illinois Governor’s order included recommendations 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.” The full remote learning recommendations can be viewed here.
Here are some tips on what the Illinois rules mean about remote learning:
How does one become an immediate homeschooler? Several websites offer advice and learning tools to help parents and others who are sheltered at home to try to continue a learning environment.
NPR has many special tips on “What to Know About Schools” with the COVID-19 pandemic.
One blogger offers some curriculum guidance: https://www.shopbecker.com/Home-Teaching-Tools/
Kohl’s Children’s Museum in Glenview, Illinois, that was founded 35 years ago, generally offers interactive, hands-on exhibits for children ages birth to eight years old. With the Museum now closed to the public, it offers a remote learning site, Home Zone, with content updated daily.
One writer, Peter Greene from Forbes, asks, “Should We Just Hold Students Back Next Year?”
No question, the school year is in shambles, as Green writes. The important thing is to try to get things back on track, especially for those students who need the discipline and the extra help in a more structured environment.