Monday will mark another step forward in Chicago Public Schools’ return to classrooms, as students in kindergarten through fifth grades will be back in school on Monday for the first time in nearly a year.
Under the terms of the agreement reached between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union earlier this month, students in those grades will return to classrooms on Monday for the first time since in-person instruction was paused last March amid the start of the COVID pandemic in the United States.
Students in pre-K and cluster learning programs returned to classrooms on Feb. 11 as part of the phased reopening of schools, while students in sixth through eighth grades will return to class on March 8.
As part of the agreement reached this month, students will be required to wear face coverings at all times while in CPS schools. Students and teachers will be grouped into “pods” or small classes in order to minimize exposure to other students.
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.
The arrival of students in classrooms is another step forward after an agreement was reached between teachers and CPS officials earlier this month. The agreement calls for more health and safety spending to protect teachers, along with increases in available COVID vaccine doses for teachers and staff at CPS schools.
Many students opted out of a return to in-person learning, and as a result will continue to receive remote instruction, the district says.