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Illinois State of Education report highlights the impact of COVID-19 on teacher workforce

Officials from the Medical University of South Carolina say 800 students attending Charleston...
Officials from the Medical University of South Carolina say 800 students attending Charleston County Schools in person, tested positive for COVID-19 in January and February of 2021.(Live 5)
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 2:21 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KFVS) - The third annual State of Education report by the Illinois Education Association was released Tuesday and covers multiple topics.

One of the key things noted: the pressure placed on schools by the pandemic.

The pandemic has only made the teacher shortage worse, the report said, and the public is concerned about the shortage.

“The people of Illinois believe educators are the ones they trust most to make decisions about their child’s education.” Griffin said. “Teacher retirements spiked last summer and fall. Throughout the pandemic, teachers have been working 10-12 hour days not only teaching, but preparing for in-person and remote, or simultaneous, instruction.”

Major concerns ranked by Illinoisans include worsening student performance, lower standards for teachers entering the profession, crowded classrooms and increased taxes to pay more to retain teachers.

Seventy-nine percent of Illinoisans favor establishing clear metrics about when a school should switch to remote learning, enforcing guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education, providing rapid testing schools and making sure education employees do not work while ill.

“We must do something to stop damage this pandemic is causing,” Griffin said.

The report says there’s wide support for the IEA’s health and safety standards for schools.

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