By Madison Bratley, Editor
Chicago Public School students will learn remotely for the first quarter of the school year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday.
CPS CEO Janice Jackson and Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade in a statement said the decision was made based on community feedback and advice from public health experts. “As educators and dedicated education professionals, we all want students to be in school, but at this time, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) believes that current COVID-19 transmission trends would not allow us to reopen schools in a safe and responsible manner given the sheer number of people we serve every day,” the officials said. Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate rose to 4% on Monday.
The Chicago Teachers’ Union had an emergency House of Delegates meeting scheduled for next week to vote on a potential strike if CPS decided to continue with the hybrid model. CTU members, parents and students protested the framework at city hall Tuesday.
“Like everyone else I share the same sentiment of wanting to be back in the classrooms, but I also understand that in order to keep everyone safe we have to do remote learning, not just for our safety but for our teachers and their families as well,” Brianna Warren ‘21 said. As a rising senior and cheerleader, she said potentially missing senior events held in the fall like the homecoming game is “disappointing” but she intended to learn remotely before Wednesday’s announcement.
“Being a Black woman and knowing that BIPOC are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, I did not want to put anyone in my family at a bigger risk,” she said.
CPS expects to make this fall’s remote learning “significantly different” from last spring, Jackson and McDade said in a statement. Grading will return to a traditional structure, attendance will be mandatory and students will be online for the length of a usual school day. More details will be released Friday in a final framework.
Daneira Estrella ‘24 planned to use the hybrid model this fall. “Being a freshman, this [announcement] made me upset because I wanted to experience a lot of new things in high school like meeting people, seeing the clubs and just being in classes in general,” she said. “There are just so many new things I’m not going to get to experience or understand now that we’re having school online.”