Pritzker extends stay at home order-Coronavirus closing Illinois school districts till the end of the school year

J271 [8 a.m.] – Jordan Majersky’s Final News Story (638 words)

September is only a couple months away but the 2020-2021 school year in Illinois is uncertain. 

With Governor Pritzkers stay at home order extended until May 30th schools across Illinois will be forced to keep their doors closed.  

Remote learning has opened many fears for teachers, parents and students across the state. 

“We’re concerned about the students who are not doing their work and wondering if they are okay, but knowing there are limited things that can be done to help” Katie Johnson, language arts teacher at West Aurora High School said. 

“We continue to struggle to figure out the best way to keep students engaged and connected, while not adding another stress to their lives” Johnson said. 

West Aurora school district has been implementing more technology into the classroom over the course of the 2019-2020 school year. 

Johnson says “This year was our first year as a one-to-one school, so many of us have made

adjustments to our teaching practices this year to include more technology. I think that

will grow more next year, since we’ve been forced to try new tools during the pandemic.”

West Aurora school district superintendent Jeff Craig says this is an opportunity for the district to evaluate how things are done in the classroom. 

“The remote learning going on in the district is showing the education system to be very flexible. This pandemic should prompt us to think about the ways we educate” Craig says. 

Lack of internet access and little home support is an issue for many districts. Rotolo Middle School principal, Kelly Karnick says that has been a growing concern from her faculty. 

“Teachers reach out to me because they are worried about families, and we have a system in place in the district where there is a team who takes care of needs, other than the academic ones” Karnick said. 

Batavia school district has been working with United Way Kane County to ensure the well being of students. Whether that be shelter, food, clothes, etc. 

“The district has identified students without internet access and provided those families

with Hotspots so that they can have access. For students who get free or reduced lunch

at school, the district has been providing all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) to those

families for the entire week” Karnick said. 

Like many districts Rotolo has adopted the pass/fail system recommended by the state for middle schools. Essentially grades cannot be negatively impacted by the pandemic. 

Karnick says, “if a student was passing (A, B,C,D) before school was closed on March 13th, they would earn a PASS for the year. Students who earn incompletes would have had to have been failing a class before school closed and have done nothing to show that they have the ability to master the standard being taught, even with assistance, while at home.”

Amy Brewner, sophomore english teacher at West Aurora High school says it is tough to work with high schoolers online. 

“Many of my students need to help out financially and/or with household chores. Many are watching their little brothers and sisters throughout the day so that their parents can work. Others are working a part-time job to help out with the bills and other finances” Says Brewner. 

“I cannot fault them for choosing the well-being of their family over the assignment on ethos,pathos, and logos that they were supposed to have completed that particular week.

With the upcoming school year in limbo many students and teachers are hoping for the best! Kelley Karnick said “she hopes to be back in the fall, but knows that will most likely happen in phases.”

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