CHICAGO - The Chicago Teacher's Union is celebrating after CPS decided to start the school year remote.
CTU has been pushing for this outcome, citing health concerns for its membership and for CPS students. However, now that the decision has been made, union leaders says they have a lot to do in a short amount of time.
“We're glad that the mayor and public schools came to see it that way, and decided to cancel in-person learning at least for the first quarter,” said Jesse Sharkey, President of the Chicago Teacher's Union.
That first quarter is now just 35 days away.
Sharkey says this fall, virtual learning has to be "vastly improved" from what it was at the start of the pandemic.
“One of the difficulties with the way that remote learning came about in March was that it was thrust upon us unexpectedly,” said Sharkey. “An advantage of school being called remote a month before the actual beginning of classes is that it'll give us time to do professional development and to set some standards."
Setting standards, training teachers on virtual methods and equipping lower income CPS families with technology and internet access are all major challenges over the coming weeks.
“We need to sit down with the district and begin making concrete plans about professional development for teachers, clear expectations and frankly house-business and things like that to make sure that families have the devices they need so that when school begins, remote learning can be engaging and successful,” said Sharkey.
Sharkey said that conversations of when in-person learning can resume won't start until November.
Any decision that will be made will be based on science.