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'Come Together!' Frustrated Parents Wants CPS, CTU To Negotiate A Way Students Can Learn Again During COVID Surge

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union talk about whether instructors can pursue remote learning, it's leaving parents and guardians concerned and confused as to what to do next.

CBS 2's Chris Tye reports on how parents learned the news late Tuesday night and are now left wondering how long they'll remain in limbo.

There are two dozen safe haven sites the city operates for kids whose parents have no other child care options. It's a jam that 48 hours ago seemed inconceivable to thousands of CPS parents.

Snapshots of day one: Kids home and lessons canceled

"It's a scramble, both logistically an well as mentally."

The mental gymnastics coming from an 11th hour vote Tuesday. It was made worse by Lisa Zhao's daughter being told, errantly by teachers, that remote learning would happen Wednesday.

"The way they shut down down school at the 11th hour is also not putting parents and children as a priority," Zhao said. "It's extremely confusing and frustrating to the working parents."

As classrooms sit empty, some parents wonder why CPS and CTU didn't hammer out details over probable scenarios during winter break.

"What, 11 business days where they're on break? Come together!"

Fletcher Bremer's two daughters idled again as kids almost everywhere else are in school.

"Throughout the pandemic, Catholic schools, Montessori schools, suburban schools and schools around the country have been able to do this well," Bremer said.

For parents who can't stay home with kids, the district has two dozen Safe Havens, open from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.


"Be prepared for all possibilities."

That nimbleness may help the students of Sullivan High School teacher Rebecca Coven.

"I teach seniors they are applying to colleges. They are preparing to graduate and get jobs next year or go to college," Coven said.

She's letting them keep in touch with her through a CPS approved app during this window of time that parents hope closes quickly.

"The single biggest issue is the outlook for the next two weeks as well as the rest of the semester," said Zhao.

There is anger from these parents and a deep desire to get some concreteness around this, including when remote learning might begin, when school goes back and what metrics will be used.

Click here for a list of Safe Haven sites from Chicago Public Schools.

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