CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s mayor has announced that the nation’s third-largest school district will not welcome students back to the classroom to start the school year, instead relying on remote instruction.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday that the shift for Chicago Public Schools is based on a recent uptick in coronavirus cases.
The district says it will implement remote learning through the first quarter and work with the Chicago Department of Public Health to determine if it is safe to open with a hybrid learning model in the second quarter, which begins on November 9.
“As we build out this remote learning model and seek to establish a hybrid learning model in the second quarter, we will continue to support and collaborate with parents and school leaders to create safe, sustainable learning environments for our students,” said Lightfoot.
The district last month unveiled a tentative hybrid plan for the fall semester, which begins Sept. 8. But officials said it was subject to change depending on families’ feedback and area trends in coronavirus cases.
The Chicago Teachers Union strongly opposed the district’s hybrid proposal, saying it wouldn't be possible to keep staff and more than 300,000 students safe.
In a fiery statement Wednesday, CTU president Jesse Sharkey said that the district must immediately start planning transparently and in partnership with the union to provide every student the educational, social and emotional supports they need to learn and grow.
“Congratulations to the mayor for being willing to listen to the concerns of families, educators, community groups and health professionals,” Sharkey wrote in part. “Now that she has stepped away from a dangerous Trump/DeVos scheme to force in-person learning this fall, we hope she will embrace guidelines set forth by real public health experts.”