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crowe 05222019CW0495rMARYVILLE – As part of the state’s response to COVID-19, State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) supported legislation to help school districts address the challenges created by the pandemic, signed into law Thursday by the governor.

Senate Bill 1569 makes a number of changes that help schools adjust to remote learning and other challenges imposed by the pandemic, including:

  • Allowing for the creation of remote learning days and remote learning plans,
  • Allowing for a combination of remote learning and in-person instruction,
  • Suspending clock hour requirements when a disaster is declared,
  • Affirming graduation modifications granted to Spring 2020 graduates, and
  • Allowing mandated exams to be completed remotely.

“No one can predict our circumstances in the fall. This law allows school districts to adapt,” Crowe said. “It should help educators find new ways of educating students through e-learning.”

Because teacher evaluations for the 2020-2021 school year have been paused due to COVID-19, the measure extends teacher license renewals by one year.

The legislation also extends a law allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom as substitutes for up to 120 paid days or 600 paid hours without impairing their retirement status.

“Illinois’ teacher shortage continues to affect communities throughout the state,” Crowe said. “Recognizing the ongoing struggle for downstate school districts to staff qualified teachers, this initiative protects retired teachers’ benefits while allowing them to serve as long-term substitutes.”

Finally, the legislation also makes it easier for college students who receive financial assistance through the Aspirational Institutional Match Illinois Grow Higher Education Grant Pilot Program, also known as AIM HIGH, to retain their aid for the duration of their four years of undergraduate studies.

AIM HIGH provides financial assistance to eligible low-income students who attend one of the state’s 12 public universities. Under the measure, the income of a student when entering the program will be the income of the student for the life of the program.

Senate Bill 1569 is effective immediately.