The Pandemic and Illinois Schools

A Digital Divide, Vulnerable Students and Hidden Data

ProPublica’s Midwest newsroom and the Chicago Tribune investigate how the pandemic exposed inequities in the state’s education system and officials’ failure to provide information about its toll.

Illinois Will Start Sharing Data About COVID-19 Outbreaks in Schools

As educators and parents assess the risk of returning to the classroom, some felt frustrated by the lack of public data about COVID-19 in schools. After a ProPublica and Chicago Tribune investigation, the state will start publishing the data.

Illinois Has Had COVID-19 Outbreaks in 44 Schools but Won’t Say Where They’ve Occurred

More children are testing positive for COVID-19 than they were between March and mid-August, when schools shut down. As parents weigh the safety of in-person learning, Illinois has not published information about the virus’s spread in schools.

Families of Special Needs Students Fear They’ll Lose School Services in Coronavirus Shutdown

In letters to parents of special education students, some Illinois school districts are asking them to accept scaled-back remote learning plans or waive their rights to “free appropriate public education.”

This Rural School District Has Been Asking for Wi-Fi for Years. Now It’s Finally Getting It.

An anonymous individual donated a dozen internet hotspots. A school district near Chicago is sending Chromebooks. And a superintendent in rural Illinois is stunned by the support to keep his students learning.

Most Illinois School Districts Did Not Have Approved E-learning Plans Before the Pandemic

Despite encouragement from Illinois education officials to have remote e-learning plans, many school districts scrambled to design them before the coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close.

Not All Schools Can #KeepLearning

While educators promote online learning as coronavirus spreads, some Illinois students aren’t equipped with the broadband to even notice.

When the State Shifted to E-learning, This Rural School Superintendent Shifted to the Copy Machine

With schools closed because of coronavirus, students are expected to learn remotely. But what happens when your school district doesn’t have the internet access to keep you in school? Here’s one district’s paper trail.

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