Chicago Public Schools begins a new school year on Tuesday, but with some major changes as the coronavirus pandemic has forced the district to continue remote learning.
According to CPS' remote learning plan, instruction time will vary by grade:
- Pre-K: 60 minutes of real-time instruction and 90 minutes of "learning activities."
- K-2: 180 minutes of real-time instructions, 180 minutes of "learning activities."
- 3-5: 205 minutes of real-time instruction, 155 minutes of "learning activities."
- 6-8: 230 minutes of real-time instruction, 130 minutes of "learning activities."
- 9-12: 80 percent of the day will be for real-time instructions, 20 percent of the day will be for "learning activities."
CPS offered two support hotlines for parents: general -- 773-553-KIDS (5437) -- and tech support -- 773-417-1060.
Teachers will use Google education tools to track engagement for each students and will be expected to do a daily "homeroom-style check-in," the district said.
Student attendance will be taken each day and grading will return to regular practices, according to CPS.
The district sent 125,000 devices to students in the spring and another nearly 20,000 heading into this school year.
While Mayor Lori Lightfoot first proposed a hybrid learning model, with students in small pods in the classroom a few days a week, the Chicago Teachers Union put pressure on to continue remote learning, citing concerns for teacher and student safety amid the pandemic.
The remote learning plan has received mixed reactions from students and parents.
Sharon Brown, parent of a senior at Morgan Park High School said that structure is key for her family.
“Despite the fact that they are not in class, the expectation for my son is still the same," Brown said. "He still has to go to bed on time, get up on time and he has to study.”
Principal of Morgan Park High School Dr. Femi Skanes said the situation is unknown to everyone right now, but will be "just like clockwork" after a few weeks or months.
“As long as we can extend some grace, as long as we can communicate. Schools communicating with families, families communicating with schools, we can do this.”
Skanes' students have Chromebooks to help through the school year, but the principal asked for everyone's understanding as they manage the pandemic.
Nia Wright, a second grader at Skinner West Elementary, said she didn't expect to be going to school at home, but students shouldn't be scared.
“If any kids are nervous, don’t be. I get it, so much," she said. "I mean, it’s the same exact school year but in a different location, so don’t be afraid.”