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BREAKING NEWS: Preschool students and diverse learners in cluster programs will experience some in-person learning during second quarter, all other CPS students will continue remote learning, sources say

By Madison Bratley, Editor

Preschool students and diverse learners in cluster programs will experience some amount of in-person learning starting second quarter and the rest of Chicago Public School students will continue remote learning, sources with an understanding of the district’s plans say

Chicago Public schools has not yet publicly released its plan for the second quarter, but is expected to make an announcement about it on Friday, NBC reports. On Tuesday CPS CEO Jackson said the district would make an announcement “very soon.” Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed concern Tuesday about remote learning’s impacts on the district’s youngest students and diverse learners, who she said are “having the biggest challenges in a remote learning environment.”

Special education cluster programs are designed for students requiring a significantly modified curriculum and moderate to intensive support in a classroom separate from general education students for a majority of the day. 

The Chicago Teachers Union on Thursday tweeted, “We have learned that a 3 p.m. meeting has been called for principals today, presumably for CPS and the mayor to inform school administrations of their plans to return SPED and early childhood ed students back to unsafe school buildings in November.” Last year, 14,300 students were enrolled in CPS preschool programs, but the Coronavirus pandemic may have impacted the amount of students in these programs this year. The amount of students in this year’s preschool class is unclear. 

Plans for the first quarter allowed hybrid learning if Chicago had less than 400 daily COVID-19 cases. Chicago had a rolling daily case average of 442 cases on Thursday, an increase of 32% from the week prior. Illinois recorded 4,015 new cases Thursday, a single-day record. 

Taha Charolia ‘21 said he didn’t expect to return to in-person learning in November because of the rising cases. “I am disappointed that there probably won’t even be a hybrid model for seniors as now I am losing out on even more of my senior year experience,” he said. “I remain optimistic for the chance to be in person starting semester two.”

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