Chicago schools to begin fall remotely, dropping hybrid plan

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Chicago schools to begin fall remotely, dropping hybrid plan

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

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CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) — Chicago's mayor announced today that the nation's third-largest school district will not welcome students back to the classroom after all, but will instead rely only on remote instruction to start the school year.

The city's decision to abandon its plan to have students attend in-person classes for two days a week once the fall semester starts September 8 came amid strong pushback from the powerful union representing Chicago teachers and as districts around the country struggle with how to teach their children during the coronavirus pandemic.

When Chicago officials announced their hybrid-learning plan last month, they said it was subject to change depending on families' feedback and data tracking spread of the coronavirus.

Today, Mayor Lori Lightfoot attributed the change in plans to a recent uptick in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city.

"The decision to start remotely makes sense for a district of CPS' size and diversity," Lightfoot said at a City Hall news conference. "But we also understand the struggle this will be for many of our parents who have to manage work, child care and all the other needs at home."

A survey showed that 41 per cent of parents of elementary school students and 38 per cent of parents of high school students didn't plan to send their children back to the classroom this fall, the district said in a news release. About 80 per cent of Black and Latino families said they wouldn't send their kids back for in-person instruction.

Under the district's original plan, parents were allowed to opt out of in-person instruction but had to make that decision by Friday.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers said that other districts should follow Chicago's lead.

"In the current environment, the safest option for students and staff is to start school remotely," the union said in a news release.

The Los Angeles Unified School District decided against reopening later this month for in-person learning. School officials said it wouldn't be safe for students to do so while the coronavirus continues to spread.

New York City has announced a plan to do hybrid instruction, where students would be in school buildings in small groups on some days of the week but would learn remotely from home on other days. The state's governor hasn't said yet whether he will approve the city's plan.don its plan to have students attend in-person classes for two days a week once the fall semester starts September 8 came amid strong pushback from the powerful union representing Chicago teachers and as districts around the country struggle with how to teach their children during the coronavirus pandemic.

When Chicago officials announced their hybrid-learning plan last month, they said it was subject to change depending on families' feedback and data tracking spread of the coronavirus.

Today, Mayor Lori Lightfoot attributed the change in plans to a recent uptick in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city.

"The decision to start remotely makes sense for a district of CPS' size and diversity," Lightfoot said at a City Hall news conference. "But we also understand the struggle this will be for many of our parents who have to manage work, child care and all the other needs at home."

A survey showed that 41 per cent of parents of elementary school students and 38 per cent of parents of high school students didn't plan to send their children back to the classroom this fall, the district said in a news release. About 80 per cent of Black and Latino families said they wouldn't send their kids back for in-person instruction.

Under the district's original plan, parents were allowed to opt out of in-person instruction but had to make that decision by Friday.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers said that other districts should follow Chicago's lead.

"In the current environment, the safest option for students and staff is to start school remotely," the union said in a news release.

The Los Angeles Unified School District decided against reopening later this month for in-person learning. School officials said it wouldn't be safe for students to do so while the coronavirus continues to spread.

New York City has announced a plan to do hybrid instruction, where students would be in school buildings in small groups on some days of the week but would learn remotely from home on other days. The state's governor hasn't said yet whether he will approve the city's plan.


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