Chicago Public Schools to begin school year with full remote learning

Coronavirus

(AP Photo/Scott Eisen)

CHICAGO (News Nation) — The third-largest school district in the country will not welcome students back to the classroom and instead will begin the year with all remote learning, Chicago’s mayor announced Wednesday.

Chicago Public Schools originally announced a hybrid-learning planning for the district in July and said it was subject to change depending on families’ feedback and the spread of coronavirus. The original hybrid-learning plan had students attend in-person classes for two days a week during the fall semester.

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

“Here in Chicago, we are in a better place than most other areas in the country and in the surrounding area,” Lightfoot said. “But the fact of the matter is, we are seeing an increases in cases. The decision to start remotely makes sense for a district of CPS’ size and diversity.”

The Chicago Teachers Union opposed the district’s hybrid proposal and called for virtual-only instruction to start the year. Union officials said it wasn’t possible to keep staff and more than 300,000 students safe in hundreds of schools around the city.

Under the original plan, parents were allowed to opt out of in-person instruction. A survey issued by the district showed that 41% of the parents of elementary school students and 38% of the parents of high school students didn’t plan to send their children back to the classroom this fall, the district said.

The fall semester is scheduled to begin Sept. 8.

Los Angeles Unified School decided against reopening later this month for in-person learning. 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.

News Nation affiliate WGN contributed to this report.

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