Chicago Public Schools will start the 2020-21 school year with fully remote learning for all its students, the district announced in a press release Wednesday, a decision that could avoid a possible strike from the Chicago Teacher's Union.
The district will implement remote learning through the first quarter, which ends November 9. At that time they will evaluate if it is safe to open in a hybrid learning model.
“As a district, we value parent feedback and we cannot overlook that a large percentage of parents have indicated they do not feel comfortable sending their students to school under a hybrid model for the start of the school year,” Dr. Janice K. Jackson, CPS CEO, said in a statement.
“I understand the uncertainty this pandemic has caused our parents, especially communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted. We are making every possible effort to provide a high-quality remote learning experience in the fall, utilizing live, virtual instruction for every student, every day, and we are committed to ongoing engagement and communication with parents," Jackson said.
Some background: The announcement comes a day after a source close to the Chicago Teacher's Union (CTU) told CNN that the CTU planned to convene their House of Delegates early next week to discuss taking a strike vote to demand remote learning for Chicago Public Schools.
Chicago, the nation's third largest school district, had previously hoped to start the school year with a hybrid learning model, and had prepared a scenario to do so.
"This hybrid model would allow students to follow proper social distancing guidelines by effectively cutting the number of students in a classroom and ensuring students can access high-quality in-person instruction from caring teachers," according to a preliminary framework released July 17.
“The decision to begin the 2020-2021 CPS school year remotely during the first quarter is rooted in public health data and the invaluable feedback we've received from parents and families,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
“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,” Lightfoot added.