ISBE Guidance

  • Though technically not an ISBE organization, the P-20 Council includes significant ISBE representation. This 184 page document is not meant to be read cover to cover, but is broken down into specific chapters that you may want to reference as you look to access strategies that can be most impactful in your context.

    Chapter 1: Enrollment, Retention, and Re-engagement
    Chapter 2: Individualized Student Fact Base
    Chapter 3: Reimagine School Calendar
    Chapter 4: Out-of-Classroom Learning Experiences
    Chapter 5: Connections to Community Organizations
    Chapter 6: Academic and Behavioral Counseling Resources
    Chapter 7: Mental Wellness
    Chapter 8: Digital Priorities
    Chapter 9: Quality of Learning
    Chapter 10: Flexibility to Accommodate for Other Responsibilities
    Chapter 11: Transition Periods
    Chapter 12: Education/Workforce Strategy

    Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools: Part 4- Transition Joint Guidance (March 2021)
    Among the highlights are language supporting social distancing of students between 3-6 feet in schools, the removal of room capacity limits tied to a specific number or even square footage (instead tied to the ability to socially distance), recommendations for travelers, and a strong push to try to return to in-person learning. Not surprisingly, this latest guidance has spurred many questions, See the FAQ below that serves as a sister document to this guidance.

    This FAQ from ISBE addresses education related aspects of the Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigation measures associated with the Governor's November 18, 2020 Executive Order 2020-73, including the impacts on instructional and non-instructional activities. The updated version restricts in-person bus driver trainings and states that school safety drills must be conducted in-person and not remotely.

    Guidance to Support Districts with 2020-21 Assessment Administration
    (Updated 11/09/2020)
    At this time the US Department of Education has made it clear that they do not plan to suspend state mandated assessments for another year (however that announcement came prior to the presidential election). ISBE developed and released this Assessment Guidance Document at the end of October, and has just updated it to include more specificity regarding ACCESS testing (see page 6) and PSAT 10 & PSAT 8/9 (see pages 18-19). This document was designed to assist schools in safely assessing all students on the spring 2021 state mandated tests during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    PPE & Cleaning  Supplies
    ISBE has added new vendors to their Education Purchasing Program for PPE and cleaning supplies.

    Part 3 Transition Guidance FAQ (Updated 08/17/2020)
    Only one update from previous version of this document, but it's a pretty important one.  Under Face Coverings item 3 it states: Can staff remove their face coverings while alone in their classroom or office? Teachers and staff who are alone in their classroom or offices should be allowed to remove their face covering if they are in the room alone and the doors are closed.

    From ISBE and the IDPH, this guidance is an attempt to provide instructional recommendations for a unique fall instructional learning environment. Both entities agree that in-person learning is the goal, but it may not be safe or feasible to fully resume in-person learning in every school community. These recommendations honor local control with the goal to support educators in minimizing the negative impact of these circumstances for students, staff and communities, while maximizing recovery and learning for all.

    This ISBE produced document is designed to serve as a supplemental  resource to districts and other serving entities on special education topics during the preparation for, and transition to, return to in-person instruction.

    Starting the 2020-2021 School Year: Part 3- Transition Joint Guidance (06/23/2020)
    From ISBE and IDPH this document focuses on returning to in-person instruction, remote learning and blended remote learning for the fall. While ISBE strongly encourages in-person instruction in Phase 4, it will certainly not look the same. To ensure the safety of students, parents and staff, this Phase 4 guidance will: 
    • Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings;
    • Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
    • Require social distancing be observed, as much as possible;
    • Require that schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and
    • Require an increase in schoolwide cleaning and disinfection.

    This document is well worth a very thorough read and discussion with administrators, certified and non-certified staff and all other education related stakeholders.

    Transitioning to 2020-21 School Year: Plan Overview- webinar ppt
    This link takes you to the powerpoint presentation that ISBE used for its webinar addressing the Starting the 2020-21 School Year: Part 3- Transition Joint Guidance. Here is a link to the recording of that webinar. It will ask you to register, but that won't take more than a minute. The Q&A aspect of the two webinars were by far the most valuable part. You can jump right to that section at the end of the 14th minute.

    Updated Summer School and Other Allowable Activities: Part 2- Transition Joint Guidance (06/04/2020)
    From ISBE and IDPH this document focuses on Restore IL Phase 3 allowable activities and the return to in-person instruction within specific Phase 3 limitations.