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COVID-19 response package for education heads to governor’s desk

manar floor 052120SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois General Assembly today approved legislation to help rank-and-file teachers and school districts address the unique challenges to Illinois’ education system created by COVID-19.

 

Senate Bill 1569 makes a number of changes that help schools adjust to remote learning, including the following:

 

 

  • Allows for the creation of remote learning days and remote learning plans
  • Allows for a combination of remote learning and in-person instruction
  • Suspends clock hour requirements when a disaster is declared
  • Affirms graduation modifications granted to Spring 2020 graduates
  • Allows mandated exams to be completed remotely

“This package provides school districts more flexibility and creativity to work around the limitations posed by COVID-19,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). “This will help them deliver the best possible learning experience for their students as the circumstances evolve over the next year.”

Because teacher evaluations for the 20-21 school year have been paused due to COVID-19, SB 1569 extends teacher license renewals by one year.

The legislation also extends a law allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom as substitutes for up to 120 paid days or 600 paid hours without impairing their retirement status. Originally passed by Senator Manar in 2017, the program has helped address the severe teacher shortage facing downstate school districts.

“Over the past few months, aspiring, current, and retired teachers have stepped up to serve their communities in ways many of them have never imagined they would,” Manar. “They’ve gone above and beyond to be there for their students, despite a host of administrative and financial challenges. I’m pleased that we were able to remove some of those hurdles and sources of uncertainty.”

Finally, the legislation also makes it easier for college students who receive financial assistance through the Aspirational Institutional Match Illinois Grow Higher Education Grant Pilot Program, also known as AIM HIGH, to retain their aid for the duration of their four years of undergraduate studies.

AIM HIGH provides financial assistance to eligible low-income students who attend one of the state’s 12 public universities. Under the measure, the income of a student when entering the program will be the income of the student for the life of the program.

Manar: Springfield DMV to reopen for drive-thru vehicle registration sticker sales

sosfacility3 051820SPRINGFIELD - Marking the first step of its reopening plan, the Illinois secretary of state’s office will reopen seven driver services facilities, including Springfield-Dirksen, to provide drive-thru services for vehicle registration sticker transactions beginning Tuesday, May 19.

“This has been a source of major concern for some of the people I represent,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). “I appreciate the thoughtful planning by the secretary of state’s office to ensure that Illinoisans can access these vital services in a safe way that doesn’t compromise the health of staff or customers.”

Located at 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, the facility will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. All employees will wear face masks, and customers are encouraged to do the same.

Since Gov. JB Pritzker’s Stay at Home Order took effect, more than 600,000 people have renewed their stickers online, an increase of approximately 65%.

Customers are still encouraged to renew their vehicle registration stickers online at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. Driver’s licenses can also be renewed online.

Manar distributes face shields to local health departments

faceshield 051420BUNKER HILL – To support local efforts to battle COVID-19, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) partnered with John Deere, the United Auto Workers, and the Illinois Manufacturers Association today to deliver 300 face shields to local agencies in Macoupin, Montgomery, and Christian Counties.

Face shields are a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by medical personnel that protect the wearer's entire face from hazards such as flying objects, chemical splashes, or potentially infectious materials.

Manar distributed the face shields to the Macoupin County Public Health Department Maple Street Clinic and the Montgomery-Christian Emergency Management Agency.

“Both of these agencies are pillars of the Central Illinois region’s COVID-19 response and reopening plan. Their leadership and staff have gone above and beyond to provide high-quality care and services to local families,” Manar said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to support their efforts and help make sure they have the supplies they need to stay safe. Thank you to John Deere, the United Auto Workers, and the Illinois Manufacturers Association for their partnership.”

As the only drive-thru testing center within a 40-minute drive, the Macoupin County Public Health Department in Gillespie has emerged as the center of the COVID-19 response for communities between Springfield and the Metro East.

Manar said he is continuing to search for private sector partners to help local efforts in the 48th District.

Manar announces reopening of certain CDL testing and licensing facilities

cdl 051220BUNKER HILL – Following pressure from members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Illinois Secretary of State has opened three Commercial Drivers License (CDL) facilities to meet the increasing demand being placed on commercial and agricultural enterprises engaged in delivering and producing essential goods.

“The trucking industry plays an extraordinary role in the health and safety of Illinois residents during this difficult time. A shortage of drivers could restrict our food supply, pandemic response efforts, and economic recovery,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee. “We must make sure that testing and licensing services are available and that facilities can meet the high volume of new drivers with permits who are ready to test.”

The Secretary of State’s Office will be taking the necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of employees and applicants.

The locations and hours of the facilities open include:

  • Springfield Dirksen, 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Marion, 1905 W. Rendelman St., Tuesday 8 a.m.- 5:30 p.m., Wednesday-Friday 8 a.m. -5 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.-noon 
  • West Chicago, 120 Powis Rd., Tuesday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

CDL driving tests will be conducted by appointment only and can be scheduled by calling 217-785-3013. All other CDL transactions will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Secretary of State’s Office will be taking the necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of employees and applicants.

For more information, please visit cyberdriveillinois.com.

Sen. Andy Manar

Sen. Andy Manar

48th Senate District

Years served:2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations I; Appropriations II (Chairperson); Education; Executive Appointments (Vice-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Capital (AP) (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Special Issues (ED); Labor; Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com..

Biography: Born November 15, 1975, in Bunker Hill; B.A. in History, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; past chairman of Macoupin County Board; married (wife, Trista), has three children.

Associated Representatives:
Avery Bourne
Sue Scherer