SPRINGFIELD (WILY) – With all K-12 schools in the state to be closed until at least March 30 under an order from Governor J.B. Pritzker, Illinois’ educational leaders have raised concerns that school districts in the state are unprepared for e-learning.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education (IBSE), school assignments given during the mandatory school closure shouldn’t count toward student grades because most school districts are not ready for e-learning.
While some school districts are able to move to e-learning to continue class remotely, the state board says most districts don’t have the capability.
Of the 614 districts that responded to a survey sent by ISBE over the weekend, 71% said they had obstacles to moving to e-learning. The biggest challenge was student access to broadband, followed by access to digital devices.
The board said it’s a matter of equity not to have assignments impact grades during this time.
The state is exploring options to move districts to e-learning if closures go beyond March 30, but that is at the exploratory stage. There is a process in Illinois for schools to be officially approved to offer e-learning.
The governor has expedited the process as part of an executive order. ISBE is still encouraging schools to get e-learning plans verified by regional offices of education if they can.
The mandated school closure days count as “Act of God” days, which means no district will be penalized for falling short of the required number of student attendance days for the year.