Chicago schools issue 'final reopening framework' on operations for the year

Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday released a “final reopening framework” that gives specifics on how much time each grade will spend daily learning remotely as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The Chicago Teachers Union immediately criticized school officials, saying they created a plan without imagination and without consulting union officials.

“As we prepare for an unprecedented start to the upcoming school year, we’ve set clear expectations for students and staff to improve remote instruction and ensure that our students are supported and their unique needs are met,” schools CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson said in a statement.

The district’s plan establishes expectations for remote learning, instruction time by grade, emotional and social supports for its approximately 350,000 students, plans to assist non-English speaking students and the distribution of devices to students who need them.

Instruction time will vary by grade, with pre-kindergarten students getting 60 minutes of real-time instruction. Kindergarten through second grade students will get 180 minutes of real-time instruction. Third through fifth grade students will receive 205 minutes of real-time instruction. Sixth through eighth grade students will get 230 minutes of real-time instruction. High school students will see 80% of the day for real-time instruction. Each grade will receive varying amount of time on "learning activities,” based on their grade level. Student attendance will be taken each day and they will receive grades.

President Jesse Sharkey said the teachers union has filed a grievance about the district’s remote learning guidance. He contends it fails to provide teachers with the instructional tools necessary to deliver proper instruction in a remote context as required by the labor contract.

School officials initially planned on having students in schools for in-person learning twice a week. Earlier this month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and school officials decided to switch to remote learning because of the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the city and concerns parents expressed about the safety of their children.

Officials said schools will be fully remote through early November, when they will decide if the district will move to a hybrid model.