CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Teachers Union on Tuesday called on the Illinois State Board of Education to suspend all standardized tests for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year amid the coronavirus outbreak.

All schools closed statewide effective Tuesday. The closure is set to continue until at least March 30.

Given that, the union called on the suspension of the tests, and for the state Board of Education to adjust graduation requirements for the current school year so no student is forced to repeat a grade or denied graduation because of the coronavirus crisis.

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“The Governor and ISBE have shown exceptional leadership during this crisis,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said in a news release. “This proposed move by ISBE would build on the State’s commitment to protect our students from the harm of this pandemic and support their educational needs.”

The union said it sent a letter to State Board of Education Supt. Carmen Ayala and Deputy Governor for Education Jesse Ruiz on Monday. Governors across the country have also asked the U.S. Department of Education to waive all testing requirements.

“The glaring racial inequities latent in the current standardized testing scheme will be compounded if the tests are administered to students as scheduled this year,” Sharkey was quoted from the letter. “As is so often the case with public crises, our most vulnerable students, especially in Black and Brown communities on the South and West sides of Chicago, will suffer the direst effects of COVID-19 school closures. Theirs will be the families under the most economic duress during this crisis, and they will be least likely to have access to distance learning resources. Justice and equity demands that they not be subjected to standardized tests when their schools re-open, too.”

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