SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – With lawmakers set to return to Springfield this week, state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, is preparing for continued discussions about how the COVID-19 health crisis has affected education and how to best meet the needs of teachers, students and their families.
“For the past several weeks, we have been meeting remotely in bipartisan working groups to discuss all aspects of managing the current crisis and moving toward recovery,” said Stuart. “Education is one area that has been greatly impacted by the pandemic. As the end of the school year changed to remote and online learning, and with questions surrounding the start of school for the fall, schools and students are facing new challenges.”
As a member of the Elementary and Secondary Education working group, Stuart has participated in numerous discussions about the impacts of COVID-19 school closures and how to bridge the digital divide that hinders learning for students without access to technology to do their schoolwork at home. The working group has also discussed additional supports for teachers, such as implementing a mentor program, to help minimize teacher turnover and retain high-quality educators during and beyond the pandemic.
“Every student in Illinois deserves access to a quality education, even during a pandemic when learning looks very different,” said Stuart. “We have had some productive conversations about how to help both students and educators overcome the short and long-term challenges associated with COVID-19, and I am eager to continue this work when we’re back in session.”