On Thursday, Governor Pritzker signed SB 1569, education omnibus legislation, into law. Public Act 101-643 addresses many issues and flexibility needed as a result of COVID-19. The bill codifies many of the provisions from the Governor's Executive Orders to provide flexibility for student teaching requirements, graduation requirements, remote learning, and more.
Remote Learning - The bill authorizes remote learning and blended learning days in the future by utilizing a hybrid of in-person and remote learning, or allowing qualifying remote learning plans to deliver instruction.
Remote Learning Planning Days - School districts can use up to 5 remote learning planning days as pupil attendance days for calculation of the school term.
Length of School Day - Clock-hour requirements do not apply if there is a disaster declaration due to a public health emergency.
Licensure Renewal - All licenses issued by ISBE that expire on June 30, 2020 and have not been renewed by the end of the 2020 renewal period shall be extended for one year and shall expire on June 20, 2021.
High School Graduates - Validates any diplomas issued under modified graduation requirements during the 2019-2020 school year and summer 2020. The bill also allows grades of "pass, credit, or satisfactory" to fulfill prerequisite requirements for higher education courses.
Teacher Evaluations - Teacher evaluations that were not finished before schools were closed in March, provides for a default evaluation of "proficient." Teachers whose last evaluation was rated "excellent" will be evaluated "excellent" for 2019-20 if their evaluation was unfinished when schools closed.
Individualized Education Plans - Among the changes are clarification to what information must be shared with parents of students with IEP’s, how the information should be delivered, and notice of the district's use of Response to Intervention or Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for the child. It also requires service logs such be kept and shared on services such as speech and language services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, school social work services, school counseling services, school psychology services, and school nursing services.
Vote-by-Mail & Election Day Holiday
Senate Bill 1863 was also signed into law this week, expanding vote-by-mail for the 2020 General Election and making the day a school holiday. Public Act 101-642 creates a state holiday allowing schools to close for 2020. An amendment to Senate Bill 1863 still allows for schools to be made available as a polling place. The legislation also allows persons 16 years or older to serve as election judges.