Illinois PTA calls for statewide learning recovery plan submitted by the Illinois Parent Teacher Association.

As the current school year ends in districts across our state, school staff, from teachers and principals to bus drivers and school nurses, have shown to be true heroes for our students and families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. These truly essential employees have delivered our communities meals, provided health alerts and information, supported our children with a quick transition to remote learning, and served as vital lifelines for countless students and families. We are extremely grateful to them and applaud their strength and commitment.

Now, as we begin to prepare for a return to school, it is clear our students and teachers will need support as schools re-engage. This crisis has taken an emotional and academic toll on every student in the state. Whether young people have lost a loved one, struggled through economic loss and hardship, worried about how to keep up with college tuition, or simply wrestled with isolation and anxiety, no young person in the state has been unscathed by the upheaval and dislocation of this pandemic.

As parents, we have seen firsthand that remote learning is not a substitute for in-person instruction and schooling. We see that many of our children are not covering all their lessons and material, are less engaged and have far less opportunity for peer to peer growth and development. We know that our schools had limited time and resources to plan for remote learning, and that we as parents had little time to prepare for what would be needed at home too. But we cannot let our children suffer – either next year or in the long term as a result.