Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools CEO predicts 77,000 students to return to classrooms on Monday

Written by Mamie M. Arndt


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© Provided by Washington Examiner


Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson predicted a third of students enrolled in Chicago Public Schools will return to in-person learning on Monday.

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Jackson, who has been entangled in negotiations between the city’s school district and the Chicago Teachers’ Union, said during CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday that 77,000 students are eligible for in-person learning this week.

“Right now, we’re anticipating 77,000 students, which is roughly a third of the students here in CPS, that are eligible for in-person instruction. That’s twice the size of the second-largest school district here in Illinois. And so reopening Chicago public schools is extremely important,” Jackson said.

Chicago students are on the brink of facing a potential strike by their teachers over a disagreement between the union and the district about in-person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic, prompting anxieties among Chicago parents. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city intends to proceed with the reopening plan.

Jackson said the current goal is to get a resolution, while there is still disagreement on key issues, such as vaccination and fear by some to return to classrooms in the middle of the pandemic.

“We believe that we have to reopen schools,” Jackson said. “We’ve been closed for almost a year now. And as a school system, we’re starting to see some of the effects of schools being closed. Many of our students aren’t logging on. We are seeing African American and Latinx students, in particular, being especially hard-hit. And our goal is to really give every parent an option.”

Jackson said that families who want to remain remote will have the option to do so for the remainder of the school year, adding, “But we have thousands of families who want an in-person option because they’re essential workers themselves.”

The main concern in union negotiations revolves around whether teachers should be required to be vaccinated before returning to the classrooms, as well as remote-work accommodations for members who live at home with people who would be more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Under the Illinois vaccine prioritization plan, teachers can receive the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in Phase 1b, the phase the state is currently in. The phase is also designated for seniors over 65 and front-line workers.

Illinois has had over a million cases of COVID-19 and over 21,000 deaths attributed to the virus.

Tags: News, Chicago, Teachers, Teachers Unions, Public Schools, Education, Coronavirus

Original Author: Mica Soellner

Original Location: Chicago Public Schools CEO predicts 77,000 students to return to classrooms on Monday

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Mamie M. Arndt