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Chicago public schools will not reopen this fall; lessons will be held remotely

Written by on August 5, 2020

Chicago public school officials announced Wednesday that children will not be returning to the classroom in the fall and will instead begin remote learning in early September.

“After carefully considering advice from public health experts and feedback from our families, we are announcing a full remote start to the 2020-21 school year,” the school system tweeted.

“We will begin the school year as scheduled on Tues, 9/8 with all students learning from home through the end of the 1st quarter (Mon, 11/9). We will then reassess switching to a hybrid in-person learning model similar to what was proposed in our preliminary reopening framework.”

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They claimed the decision was the result of intense feedback from over 87,000 teachers, students and families who were polled about a possible return and said they weren’t comfortable with the idea of in-person classes.

“Much like a normal school, students will also have self-directed time for electives, academic enrichment, and special classes such as arts and physical education in addition to real-time instruction,” the Twitter thread continued.

Students from Pre-K through elementary will be given independent time for lunch, breaks and group activity assignments. In total, they are expected to receive “several hours” of virtual instruction each day.

As for high school students, educators will attempt to mirror their normal day as much as possible and will also make time for breaks and elective courses.

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“High school students will attend classes, be given time to transition between classes, and their day will be filled with a balance of live instruction, group activities, and self-directed learning,” another tweet read. “All students will receive several hours of live instruction every day.”

This news comes just three days after local Chicago-area leaders, led by State Rep. LaShawn Ford, proposed scrapping history class in the surrounding schools until a less “racist” curriculum can be formed, that doesn’t promote “white privilege.”

Protesters hold signs during the Occupy City Hall Protest and Car Caravan hosted by Chicago Teachers Union in Chicago, Illinois, on August 3, 2020. - Teachers and activists hold car caravan all over the country on August 3, 2020 to demand adequate classroom safety measures as schools debate reopening. 

Protesters hold signs during the Occupy City Hall Protest and Car Caravan hosted by Chicago Teachers Union in Chicago, Illinois, on August 3, 2020. – Teachers and activists hold car caravan all over the country on August 3, 2020 to demand adequate classroom safety measures as schools debate reopening.  (AFP via Getty)

During a Sunday news conference in the suburb of Evanston, Ford — a Democrat — argued for a complete overhaul of textbooks and lesson plans in an effort to be more inclusive of minorities and women. He also suggested halting current history courses until his demands are met.

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“When it comes to teaching history in Illinois, we need to end the miseducation of Illinoisans,” he said. “I’m calling on the Illinois State Board of Education and local school districts to take immediate action by removing current history books and curriculum practices that unfairly communicate our history.”

He added, “Until a suitable alternative is developed, we should instead devote greater attention toward civics and ensuring students understand our democratic processes and how they can be involved. I’m also alarmed that people continue to display symbols of hate, such as the recent display of the Confederate flag in Evanston.”

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