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Franczek Webinar Symposium—Wrapping Up, Taking Stock, and Moving Forward: The New Reality for K-12 Education

Over the past seven weeks, we have answered your questions about the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and school closures on Illinois schools through our weekly webinar.

Now, you need a clear roadmap to wrap up the current school year, take stock of the educational landscape, and plan for moving forward to provide continuity of education during the 2020-2021 school year—whether it be in person, online, or some mix of both.

Your Franczek education law team is here to help, with a carefully curated set of webinars addressing the legal issues that are essential to successfully closing out the school year and moving on to the next.

May 7, 2020 at 12 p.m 

We’ve Almost Made It: Wrapping Up an Unconventional School Year 

The school year is coming to an end. School leaders must grapple with a number of legal issues to shepherd the school year to a satisfactory close in the COVID-19 era. From grades to graduation requirements and ceremonies, locker cleanouts to technology returns, and building cleaning to human resources issues, this webinar will provide a roadmap for school leaders on the legal issues to keep in mind in closing out the school year.


May 14, 2020 at 12 p.m. 
Your Summer To-Do List: Coronavirus Edition 
The summer is a great time to check items off your to do list, and this summer will be no different. But your list of priorities for summer 2020 will be very different than in past years as a result of COVID-19. Topics covered will include negotiating the process for appeal of unsatisfactory ratings, check-ins with reluctant e-learners, preparing to resume public board meetings and in-school learning, considerations about the length of the school year, technology and infrastructure concerns, parent engagement and training, and RIFs of support staff, among others. After this session, you will have a checklist to keep you on track as you prepare for the 2020-2021 school year this summer. 

May 21, 2020 at 12 p.m.  

Extreme School Makeover: Space Planning, Deep Cleaning, and Safety, Oh My!  

We may not know when society will open back up, but we can be relatively sure that when schools open again—hopefully, this fall—they will look different than in years past. This is the first of four webinars addressing the nuances of those differences. In this webinar, we will address the differences as they relate to the school physical plant. Whether schools educate students in staggered schedules or all at once with more focus on social distancing, school leaders must begin to think now about how to creatively address space expectations and other physical plant concerns to address whatever school may be next year. This session will focus on all the makeovers your school facilities need to seamlessly move into the new school year. Franczek attorneys Shelli AndersonNicki BazerDana Fattore CrumleyJennifer Smith, and Jackie Gharapour Wernz are joined by special guest Steve Wright from DLA Architects, Ltd


May 28, 2020 at 12 p.m.  

A New Kind of Spaced Out Student: Educating Students with Continued Social Distancing 

This is the second of four webinars addressing the differences to the face of education that fall 2020 will bring. In this webinar, we will address the differences as they relate to students. We have always had some “spaced out” students, but the challenges schools must prepare to address ongoing social distancing will give a new meaning to that phrase. We will address numerous issues including staggered schedules, the continuation of remote learning, student data privacy and acceptable use of technology, discipline, student attendance monitoring, social-emotional learning (SEL) needs during the COVID-19 era, and many more. 


June 4, 2020 at 12 p.m. 

A Whole New World: Labor and Employment Challenges for the 2020-2021 School Year  

This is the final of four webinars addressing the differences to the face of education that fall 2020 will bring. In this webinar, we will address the differences as they relate to staff. Don’t wait for a genie in a bottle to wish away your fears about the labor and employment impacts of the changes the 2020-2021 school year will bring. Topics covered will include impacts of continued remote learning and staggered schedules on staffing, including reductions in force; teacher evaluations; employee salaries and stipends; temperatures and testing; and many others. 


June 11, 2020 at 12 p.m.  

FAPE and Civil Rights in the COVID Era: Essential Planning for the Coming School Year  

This is the third of four webinars addressing the differences to the face of education that fall 2020 will bring. In this webinar, we will address the radical challenges social distancing and remote learning will bring to educators and administrators tasked with identifying, evaluating, and serving students with disabilities under the IDEA. We will discuss how to make use of the limited flexibilities available and strategies to limit the amount of compensatory education that students will need upon an eventual return to societal normalcy. This session will also address the continued responsibilities that educators and administrators have with respect to addressing discrimination, harassment, bullying, and retaliation based on disability, sex, gender, race, color, national origin, and other protected civil rights of students. School leaders will understand their ongoing obligations and learn strategies for compliance tailored to our “new normal.”