After approximately a year of remote learning, Chicago Public Schools high school students will soon have the option of returning for in-person instruction, the district announced Friday afternoon.
Starting Monday, those in ninth through 12th grades, as well as academic center students, will be able to opt-in for classroom instruction, which is expected to resume toward the beginning of the fourth quarter, in mid-April.
However, a specific return date hasn't been yet as the district and Chicago Teachers Union continue discussions over establishing a plan for the return of high school students.
The opt-in window, which is available to all Pre-K through 12th grade students who have yet to return to school buildings, will remain open for two weeks, according to CPS.
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The district says opt-in forms will be sent directly to parents, emphasizing this will be the final opportunity to decide on in-person learning for the remainder of the school year.
Earlier this week, thousands of students in kindergarten through fifth grades returned to classrooms under the district's phased plan to resume in-person learning. Sixth through eighth graders are slated to head back to school buildings beginning Monday.
Pre-K and cluster program students and teachers returned last month after CPS and the CTU reached a deal to reopen schools after weeks of acrimonious negotiations over safety protocols, vaccinations and more.
CPS said in January that about 20% of students opted for a return to in-person learning, with 80% continuing with remote learning for the time being.
The agreement between CTU and CPS also includes metrics to return to all remote learning if the pandemic worsens. The district will move to online learning for at least 14 calendar days if the city's rolling 7-day average test positivity rate: increases for seven consecutive days, is at least 15% higher each of those days than the rate one week prior and if the rate is 10% or higher on the 7th day.
Students will also be required to complete health screenings each day, according to the district. The screening must be filled out by parents before the school day begins or by students when they arrive at school, and students must have a temperature at or below 100.4 degrees to be allowed to enter school.
Any student with a fever or any COVID symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or a lack of taste or smell, will be sent home.
Disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and sneeze guards are all installed in schools for usage by students and teachers, with HEPA air filters also installed to circulate and clean air in classrooms.