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CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson announced a preliminary reopening framework that outlines the current approach to bringing students back, if it is safe to do so, on Sept. 8.

The announcement was made during a press conference Friday morning.

According to CPS, the framework utilizes a hybrid learning model, where most students will learn from home and attend school a limited number of days per week, as long as it is considered safe to do so based on latest data from public health officials. The district’s hybrid approach would allow for a potential return to in-person instruction while limiting the number of people in school buildings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

Grades Kindergarten through 10th grade would return to the classroom two days a week and spend the other three days learning remotely once the school year begins under the tentative plan. The in-person plan includes classes of 15 kids that would stay with the same teacher for the entire day and year.

High school juniors and seniors will be learning almost entirely remotely under the preliminary framework.

CPS is encouraging families to provide feedback on the framework during the next two weeks, which will inform final guidance that will be released in early August.

A final decision on reopening Chicago Public Schools will be made in late August based on the health situation at that time.

“This preliminary framework represents the next step in our community-wide discussion on how we ensure our children stay safe, engaged, and resume learning when our school year begins in September,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Our dialogue will require that everyone’s voices are heard in order to arrive at the strongest possible plan for our students and school communities. COVID-19 has been unpredictable from the start, but whatever form this challenge takes, I want everyone to know that education and learning will be happening this fall.”

In order to safely reopen schools, CPS is also implementing protocols such as requiring masks, daily health screenings, temperature checks and hiring approximately 400 additional custodians to help carry out stringent cleaning and sanitizing protocols across the district. 

To gather feedback on the preliminary framework, CPS has launched a new survey and will hold five stakeholder meetings.

Information on the survey and meetings can be found below: 

Survey: Families, students and staff should submit feedback by July 31. A link to the survey can be found here:

Virtual Feedback Meetings: The district will hold five meetings (three in English, two in Spanish) on the following dates. Participants must register in advance to participate. 

Date: Monday, July 27
Time: 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. 
Language: English
Registration Link: cpsreopeningconversation1

Date: Tuesday, July 28
Time: 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Language: Spanish
Registration Link: cpsreopeningconversation2

Date: Wednesday, July 29
Time: 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Language: Spanish
Registration Link: cpsreopeningconversation3

Date: Thursday, July 30 
Time: 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Language: English
Registration Link: cpsreopeningconversation4

Date: Friday, July 31
Time: 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Language: English
Registration Link: cpsreopeningconversation5

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The preliminary framework comes as Gov. JB Pritzker warns parents to prepare for a school year unlike any other.

The Chicago Teachers Union is pushing for classes to taught only by remote learning when school resumes in the fall, arguing there isn’t enough time to return to in-person instruction effectively and safely amid the pandemic.

Pritzker has also expressed concerns, saying he’s worried for his own kids’ safety and all students throughout the state.

“I’m deeply concerned to make sure they’re safe. In terms of my confidence level I wake up every day since COVID-19 hit and I look at the numbers of what’s happening the infection rates. the number of deaths in our state every single day. A number of test that we are doing. And my confidence level changes every day as a result of that,” he said.

Chicago classrooms emptied in March when Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered schools districts statewide to switch to virtual instruction as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.