Dear Timothy Community:
On behalf of the Timothy School Board and Administration, I am writing to inform the entire Timothy community about HB2789, a bill in Springfield that proposes to allow the Illinois Department of Public Health, with the assistance of the Illinois State Board of Education to create rules and regulations concerning in-person instruction at nonpublic schools -- rules related to personal protective equipment, cleaning and hygiene, social distancing, occupancy limits, symptom screening, masks, and onsite isolation protocols. These are the very protocols that Timothy successfully and discernibly implemented without government oversight for the past ten months that made in-person instruction possible for the entire school year.
The bill provides that upon receipt of a complaint that a school is not complying with the Department's rules, the Department or local public health department shall investigate the complaint, and if upon investigation, a school is found to be in violation of the rules, the Department has the authority to close a classroom, gym, library, lunch room, or any other school space until such time that the Department determines that the violation or violations have been remedied. Under this proposed new law, in order to provide in-person instruction, nonpublic schools and public schools will have to follow the requirements for providing in-person instruction adopted by the Department by rule.
Finally, the bill provides that the State Board of Education shall adopt rules to revoke ISBE recognition for nonpublic schools that do not comply with public health requirements established by the Department when the Governor has declared a disaster due to a public health emergency. Revocation of ISBE recognition status would impact the ability of a nonpublic school, like Timothy, to compete in IHSA sports.
In summary, the bill (if passed) would give the health department control over our schools. The bill empowers the health department to create one-size-fits-all guidelines and metrics for schools and the authority to shut down any school that is outside of its guidelines and metrics, thus forcing remote learning. Although there may be unique individual student needs, it is hard to believe that lawmakers are still talking about full remote learning.
This bill could be dangerous to the entire private school movement. This bill would give the government a foot-in-the-door to all nonpublic schools. As a faith-based, religious, educational institution, we have avoided government and political entanglement. This separation is important.
Please familiarize yourself with HB2789. If you oppose the bill then please voice your opposition today or tomorrow. The bill is scheduled for Executive Hearing on May 26 at 1:30. You may oppose the bill in two ways:
1. File a Witness Slip on the General Assembly website by clicking here: WITNESS SLIP
- For Identification, fill out personal info (for Firm/Business or Agency, type "Self")
- For Representation, you can leave blank or type "Self"
- For Position, click the button for "Opponent"
- For Testimony, check "Record of Appearance Only"
- Click "I Agree to the ILGA Terms of Agreement"
- Click "Create Slip"
2. You may also send a letter to your legislative leaders. Here is a link to contact your elected officials.
As of the writing of this letter there are more than 3,300 witness slip opponents to HB2789, including individuals from State and local agencies, state and local education representatives, public and private school representatives, and many, many individuals like yourselves. Sadly, the proponents, numbering less than 40, include powerful teachers’ unions.
If you would like more information and a full update on the life cycle of the bill and its current status, please reach out. I’ve been following this daily and closely...and I’ve been in communication with local and state leaders every step of the way.
If you decide to oppose the bill, be sure to voice your opposition respectfully. Combative and hostile tones are not a biblical approach and rarely win over an opposing viewpoint. It’s not the Timothy way. Also, whether you express your opposition or not, please pray for our leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1-2. And always keep Timothy Christian Schools in your prayers.
Press On, Timothy.