March 2021
Dear Readers of The Extra Mile:

We hope this email finds you either enjoying Spring Break, refreshed from or looking forward to Spring Break. This month marked the one-year anniversary of school closures due to COVID, and Spring Break gives us a chance not only to enjoy some nice weather, but also to pause and reflect on the herculean efforts of everyone involved in keeping schools running over the past year. We at Hodges Loizzi salute the school leaders across Illinois for your endless work and unceasing passion while guiding your schools through uncharted waters.

This month’s edition of The Extra Mile focuses on updates on the COVID front, from the new ISBE/IDPH guidance that encourages in-person attendance to an OSHA update concerning school transportation. Also included are updates on a tenured teacher dismissal case and an OMA decision about the seemingly innocuous issue of deciding what topics go on a Board meeting agenda. Finally, be on the lookout for a separate email in the coming days outlining a number of key provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
ISBE/IDPH Released Revised Public Health Guidance for Public Schools

ISBE and IDPH released new guidance on the mitigation strategies and requirements for the safe return to in-person instruction, as well as updated FAQs and an updated Exclusion Decision Tree. Read more
OSHA’s New COVID-19 National Emphasis Program Spotlights School Transportation

In an effort to target workplace inspections and compliance assistance in industries with higher risk for COVID-19, OSHA has identified school transportation as one sector (among many) where it will be taking a closer look. Read more
School Board Had Authority to Suspend Tenured Teacher Without Pay When Dismissal Was Unwarranted

The Illinois Supreme Court clarified that even if a tenured teacher’s dismissal is rejected by a hearing officer, the school board still may pursue the lesser disciplinary action of an unpaid suspension. Read more
Individual Conversations Between an Employee and Board Members Concerning an Agenda Topic Did Not Constitute a Meeting for Purposes of OMA

In a nonbinding opinion, the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor found that individual discussions between a public employee and board members regarding a proposed agenda item did not violate the OMA because there was no evidence that three or more board members participated in contemporaneous, interactive communication. Read more
  • Update: New TRS Supplemental Savings Plan Released Read more
  • Hodges Loizzi Prevails in Student Residency Dispute in Illinois Appellate Court Read more
Non-COVID Legal Updates. Join Jennifer Deutch and Aimée LeBlanc when they present as part of the IAASE Winter and Spring Webinar Series on March 31 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Click here to register.
  • Student Handbook Checklist: Our annually updated Student Handbook Checklist is available for 2021. The SHC outlines the topics that are legally required (and recommended) to be in your student handbook and/or provided to parents/guardians in some manner. This publication is an invaluable guide for those working on handbook updates. Order your copy here.

  • SOPPA Workshops: Hodges Loizzi is conducting workshops to assist our client districts in implementing the Student Online Personal Protection Act. The SOPPA Workshops consist of individualized client district team training sessions of 60-90 minutes, including an overview of SOPPA compliance, the concept of workflow processing to identify the technology arrangements requiring amendment, and a dive into the technicalities of using the newly revised IL-NDPA to meet the written agreement requirements. For more information on SOPPA, see our article here. If your administrators are interested in the SOPPA Workshop training, please contact Heather Brickman.
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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