In reopening schools, state must address educational recovery plans

Posted by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 7/15/2020 2:00:00 PM


Superintendents Tony Sanders, Arthur R. Culver, Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat and John Price wrote an editorial in the Daily Herald.

From the editorial:


For months, we have witnessed in awe the resilience displayed by our students, families and school staff as they navigate the COVID-19 crisis that has shuttered our campuses. Although many school buildings remain closed through the summer, educators and parents around the state are working diligently to ensure that learning continues.


However, we know this past semester had and will have an impact on our students. Many children were without access to the tools they needed to learn effectively during remote learning. This was particularly acute where parents in "essential" jobs continued to leave the home, even as child care disappeared. For others, being absent from the classroom and their caring teachers, peers, support staff and administrators compounds the trauma they experienced more generally due to the coronavirus. And, while some schools are hosting limited in-person summer school, we know that's not sufficient.


We look forward to the fall, when we can begin to reopen our schools, resume in-person learning and restore the achievement gains that are being lost to the pandemic. With that said, like everyone else, we know this virus has a life of its own, and we continue to prepare for every eventuality and recognize this school year may not go as planned, yet again.


Although our districts have different demographics and needs, two things are certain. First, this crisis is affecting every student in the state. Second, making sure all students get what they need in Illinois will require "all hands on deck" and a multi-year statewide learning recovery plan that provides flexibility for schools and districts and that is comprehensive, well-resourced and rooted in equity.


Absent serious effort, this period of emotional and academic turmoil will follow Illinois' children into adulthood.