By Madison Bratley, Editor
Upperclassmen will continue remote learning for all of the upcoming school year while underclassmen will experience in-person learning for two days a week, Mayor Lightfoot announced Friday.
Under a framework released by Chicago Public Schools, underclassmen will adopt a “2-1-2 hybrid schedule,” where pods will either learn independently or with a teacher on Monday and Tuesday and switch for Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday, these students will have three hours of “real-time virtual instruction.” Virtual classes could include pre-recorded lessons and independent work.
They will be assigned into pods of 15 students with “a designated group of teachers,” the plan said. Additional instructors may “rotate across a few pods” to teach multiple disciplines, but students would remain in their pods throughout the school day. Pod assignments will remain for the entire school year.
“[Infections] will occur,” Mayor Lightfoot said, according to the Chicago Tribune. When someone in a pod becomes infected, that pod will quarantine and transition into remote learning. Concerned parents can apply for their children to learn from home full time. CPS will release details on that later this month.
CPS in its plan said “the complexity” of upperclassmens’ course scheduling and graduation requirements make it “not possible to effectively create pods.” Individual schools will have flexibility in allowing certain upperclassmen on campus, like diverse learners, those in vocational training, those needing “additional academic and emotional support,” or students needing to attend in-person orientations, meet-and-greets, or check-ins throughout the year. Remote instruction for upperclassmen will be “a full day of learning” with real-time instruction, the plan said.
For all Payton students, remote learning will require at least five hours of instruction or assignments per day. CPS will “track” attendance. A final reopening plan including “additional details on new learning expectations and improvements,” will be released in the first week of August, and CPS will “make a final determination” in late August on whether student can return at all this fall.
CPS said they have purchased over 1.2 million reusable cloth face masks, 42,000 hand sanitizer dispensers, 40,000 containers of disinfectant wipes, “hospital-grade disinfectant sprayers,” and “additional personal protective equipment for specialty roles.” They have also hired close to 400 custodians to “help help carry out stringent cleaning and disinfection protocols every day in every school.”
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) called for remote learning to continue this fall. “There is simply no way to guarantee safety for in-school learning during an out-of-control pandemic, and that means we must revert to remote learning until the spread of this virus is contained,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement, according to NBC Chicago. Los Angeles and San Diego announced their fall classes will be virtual.
Parents, students and staff can respond to the proposal through a survey until July 31. CPS will also hold virtual community gatherings in Spanish and English from Monday, July 27-Friday, July 31.