September 2021


Dear Readers of The Extra Mile:

We hope the new school year started off well for all of you. As we have become accustomed to over the last year and a half, the requirements for COVID-19 mitigation in schools are ever-changing. This past week, the Governor announced a vaccination mandate for school personnel, as well as a statewide indoor mask mandate. More information on the vaccination mandate is included below. We eagerly await ISBE’s emergency rules and updated ISBE/IDPH joint guidance and FAQ, which hopefully will address questions regarding implementation of the vaccination mandate. Just yesterday, the State Superintendent provided additional vaccination information in her Weekly Message, and ISBE issued updated guidance on remote learning options for school districts.

With Labor Day weekend approaching, marking the unofficial end to summer, we hope you can use the extra day to recharge from the excitement of the start of the school year and prepare for the twists and turns that likely will result from navigating yet another school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please be sure to scroll down for an important update on our “The Year in Review: The Highlights and Lowlights of Illinois School Law” seminar. For the safety and comfort of our attendees and attorneys, in light of increasing COVID-19 numbers and required mitigation measures for indoor, in-person gatherings, we decided to shift to a live virtual seminar. More information is below. For the same reasons, we also have made the decision to forgo our annual client event at the Chicago Cultural Center during the Joint Annual Conference in November. We will miss seeing you all there in person, but we look forward to finding other opportunities to connect and socialize in the months ahead.

We also are thrilled to announce that Senior Counsel Stan Eisenhammer and Partner Pam Simaga will be honored as recipients of Awards for Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service for their for their work on the 2016 pro bono case Manuel v. The City of Joliet, which they successfully argued all the way up to and before the U.S. Supreme Court. The award is presented by the federal Judges of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Finally, in this month’s edition of The Extra Mile, we are highlighting current COVID topics impacting schools, including the vaccination/testing mandate for "school personnel" and an overview of the status of pending COVID litigation, ISBE enforcement of current State mandates, and the IHSA’s recently announced rule for playoffs. We also cover several more new laws recently signed by the Governor on the recapture of property tax refunds, sex education, post-secondary transition, and mandatory play time.
Governor’s Executive Order Imposes Vaccination Mandate for School Personnel

Last week, the Governor issued a new Executive Order concerning vaccination and testing requirements for school personnel. With a short implementation deadline of September 5, schools are scrambling to understand and implement the new law and are eagerly awaiting the promised ISBE/IDPH guidance or emergency rules. Read more
COVID-19 News and Litigation Roundup

Since Governor Pritzker issued the school mask mandate on August 4, 2021, the COVID scene has been heating up, with numerous lawsuits, ramped up enforcement by ISBE, new playoff rules from the IHSA, and a new vaccination mandate. Get up to speed on the latest. Read more
New Law Adds Levy to Recapture Property Tax Refunds

Under Public Act 102-0519, a taxing district’s levy will be automatically increased to recapture lost revenue used to pay property tax refunds for PTAB, circuit court, and certificate of error property tax appeals. Although the Act just became law, a pending bill could significantly alter the procedure for implementing the recapture levy. Read more
Governor Signs Two Bills Updating Sex Education Standards for K-12 Schools

On August 20, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed into law two bills, Senate Bill 818 and House Bill 24, that update the State’s sex education standards for K-12 schools. The two bills, both effective immediately, set forth new requirements for public school districts that teach sex education. Read more
New Transition Laws Extend Services for Special Education Students

On July 28, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed HB 40 and HB 2748 into law. The two bills, both effective immediately, extend transition services for eligible students based on when they turned 22 years old. Previously, transition services for eligible students went through age 21, ending the day before the student’s 22nd birthday, regardless of when that date fell during the school year. Read more
Governor Signs Bill Requiring Daily “Play Time” for K-5 Students

Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 654, which requires daily “play time” for public school students in kindergarten through 5th grade. The new law requires public schools to provide specified amounts of unstructured play time each school day beginning this school year. It also prohibits schools from withholding access to play time as a disciplinary consequence.
INSIGHTS FOR SCHOOL LEADERS
"The Year in Review: The Highlights and Lowlights of Illinois School Law" Seminar. We are proud to partner with IASA in hosting this invaluable annual event, in which attorneys from the firm cover the most important school law updates from the past year. In a slight change of plans, the event now will be held virtually. Watch for the registration email in your inbox in the next few days.
As in years past, Hodges Loizzi will have a strong presence at the IAASE Annual Fall Conference:


  • Jen Deutch and Aimee LeBlanc will be presenting “Understanding Special Education Legal Decisions in the Era of COVID-19”


This year's IAASE Fall Conference will be held virtually on October 21-22. Click here to register.
Jennifer Mueller Rosenberg will be presenting on legal trends related to LGBTQ+ discrimination in schools at the 35th Annual Illinois Council of School Attorneys (ICSA) Seminar on School Law on November 19, 2021.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
  • Yesterday afternoon, ISBE issued new guidance on remote learning requirements and options for this school year. Among other things, it requires remote learning for all students while on an adaptive pause and also requires remote learning for vaccinated students who are excluded from school because of a breakthrough COVID case.

TAKE NOTE
  • Federal law requires all schools to conduct educational programming on September 17, Constitution Day, commemorating the signing of the Constitution.
 
  • Remember to adopt your district's annual budget by September 30.
 
  • Remember to require student health exams and immunizations by October 15, unless your district has set an earlier date (with parent notification).
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
Latest figures: July 2021
The Extra Mile is intended solely to provide information to the school community. It is neither legal advice nor a substitute for legal counsel. It is intended as advertising but not as a solicitation of an attorney/client relationship. 

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