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After Franczek Request, ISBE Emergency Rule Alleviates Staffing Pressure

Coronavirus K-12 Education

Our Franczek team received many inquiries about staffing options for classrooms where the teacher of record is teaching remotely. While many districts are staffing these classrooms with licensed paraprofessionals, the question is whether non-licensed staff can also perform this duty. A plain reading of Section 22.34 of the Illinois School Code suggests that non-licensed staff may supervise these groups of students. However, recent ISBE guidance stated: “When the teacher of record is remote but some students are present in-person, the individual providing in-person classroom supervision must be a licensed educator.” To address this apparent contradiction and help school districts with a significant staffing issue, we reached out to ISBE to clarify whether non-licensed staff may supervise students in school while their teacher is remote. We are happy to report that today ISBE issued an emergency rule confirming this perspective. The emergency rule specifically provides that during the time in which the Governor has declared a disaster due to a public health emergency, unlicensed personnel can serve as supervisors for school activities connected to the academic programs under the supervision of licensed personnel physically present in the same building, but they may not enact student discipline. Thus, if you are experiencing staffing issues related to a return to in person instruction, unlicensed personnel can help by supervising students in the school building learning from a remote teacher provided there is a licensed staff member in the building designated as their supervisor.