Chicago Public Schools

Students Petition CPS To Reduce E-Learning Hours, Screen Time Citing Health Concerns

The fierce debate over e-learning during the pandemic continues

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Students have started an online petition against Chicago Public Schools, asking the state’s largest school district to reduce e-learning hours to just four.

The petition had more than 38,000 signatures as of Wednesday evening. 

At this time, CPS has no plans to reduce hours, but told NBC 5 that students don’t spend a full 8 hours in front of the screen for e-learning.

CPS released the following statement to NBC 5 on Wednesday: 

“Chicago Public Schools built upon lessons learned from the spring to create a more consistent, high-quality learning experience for students that guarantees live instruction every day, which is something parents indicated they wanted. Strengthened standards and structures were needed to ensure students have access to the daily live instruction they deserve and we are deeply sympathetic to the challenges and competing priorities families are balancing during this unprecedented time.” 

“I don’t even step outside,” Lizbeth Barajas, a senior at Solorio Academy High School, said. “If we reduced the number of hours that we have, then we can have more one-on-one conversations in their office hours.” 

Alexis Caballero, a senior at John Hancock College Prep, told NBC 5 she suffers from headaches after e-learning from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

“When I turn off my computer, my head is automatically pounding,” Caballero said. “At this point, it’s about passing. It isn’t about learning.” 

Caballero said the petition isn’t a jab at teachers. She wants to express how stressful the e-learning model is. 

Dr. Stewart Shankman, chief psychologist at Northwestern Medicine, suggested students read a book, take a walk when they can and make phone calls without using video chat. 

When it comes to your eyes, Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Matthew Davis said to follow the 20-20-20 rule.  “Every 20 minutes try to focus your eyes on something that’s about 20 feet away, and do it for at least 20 seconds,” Davis said.

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