Chicago Public Schools has ditched plans to have some CBS Chicago reports. This came as the state faced a slow but steady rise in new and the possibility of a strike vote by the Chicago Teachers Union next week.to start the school year and announced a fully remote learning plan for the fall,
Three weeks ago, CPS announced plans for a hybrid approach to the start of the school year, with most students in classrooms twice a week and learning from home three days a week. The district then sent out surveys to parents and held virtual town hall meetings last week to discuss the plan.
CPS Chief Executive Officer Janice K. Jackson said that based on feedback from parents, "It was evident that our families were not comfortable with the state of the pandemic, and the national response."
According to CPS, only 28.1% of elementary school parents and 33.5% of high school parents said they planned to send their children to school if classrooms reopened in the fall, while 40.8% of elementary school parents and 37.8% of high school parents said they wouldn't. The rest were not sure.
The idea of returning to classrooms was especially unpopular among Black and Latinx families.
The announcement to shelve the hybrid plan for the start of the school year comes less than a day after sources confirmed the Chicago Teachers Union was planning to hold a possible strike vote over the reopening plan as early as next week to pressure CPS into starting the school year with remote learning only. The union had repeatedly criticized the hybrid plan in recent weeks, and had said the only safe option for back to school was a fully remote model.
Lightfoot denied that pressure from the union tipped the scales on the decision for how to restart school in the fall.
"As we have now repeatedly said about every decision that we've made in the context of this pandemic, we have to be guided by the science, period," she said. "When we announced the potential for a hybrid model some weeks ago, we were in a very different place in the arc of the pandemic."
Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Chicago is now averaging 277 new COVID-19 cases per day, compared to as low as 170 four to five weeks ago, and the average seven-day positive test rate has risen from 3.8% a month ago to 4.8% as of Tuesday.
CPS' decision gives district officials, teachers and staff a month to develop a more comprehensive plan for virtual learning than what was used in the spring.