Story at a glance
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a hybrid reopening model for public school in the fall.
- This comes as the teachers’ union asked for remote learning to protect student and staff health.
The Chicago Public School District, the third largest in the country, will embark on a hybrid school model in the coming fall, featuring a combination of online learning and in-person classes as the nation struggles to reconcile starting school amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said to press on Friday that the plan is not yet finalized and encouraged parental feedback to the government, Reuters reports.
“This is a dialogue that will require all of us to confront a challenge that no one has faced before,” Lightfoot reportedly said.
The plan follows the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) advocating remote learning for fall as teachers across the nation consistently fall into demographics that are at a high-risk if they contract COVID-19.
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“There is simply no way to guarantee safety for in-school learning during an out-of-control pandemic - and that means we must revert to remote learning until the spread of this virus is contained,” said CTU President Jesse Sharkey.
Specific details surrounding Chicago’s reopening plan will require masks while in public along with temperature checks and provide 1.2 million reusable masks and more than 42,000 hand sanitizer dispensers in classrooms for students and faculty. Some of the older students, including 11th and 12th graders in high school will largely learn remotely, while younger students will have more in-person classes.
“We believe that a hybrid model will be the best model to meet the needs of all of our students throughout the city,” Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Janice Jackson commented.
Other states are figuring out how to safely reopen school in the fall, faced with threats of coronavirus and influenza infections. Some universities and colleges are electing to learn remotely, while others will return to live classes for the fall semester.
Secondary and primary schools have largely been left to decide their reopening plan on a county level.
Current Chicago city data showcases 56,174 confirmed cases, with a testing positivity rate of 5.3 percent, a continued slowdown since the city’s peak in early May.
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