Statement from CDPH and CPS - The 2020-21 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) school year will begin on September 8 with full remote learning at least through the first academic quarter. In consultation with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the district will prepare for the possibility of reopening with a hybrid in-person model for the second academic quarter, which begins on November 9. Following an extensive community engagement and feedback process, the district will also be releasing the final reopening guidance, which will outline additional details.
In order to provide a more stable and high-quality remote learning experience for students, the district will be enacting new requirements for learning that go beyond ISBE guidance, including ensuring every K-12 teacher and student will be engaged for the entirety of the school day, with students receiving real-time instruction every day. The district is finalizing additional plans to best support students with special needs and English Learners, and updates will be provided to parents on an ongoing basis. Principals and educators will receive training on new expectations prior to the start of the school year.
Additionally, all students will have access to and participate in digital learning. In the spring, the district distributed approximately 128,000 computing devices and will continue to work with schools to identify and provide computing devices to any student who still needs them. To support this effort, the district will distribute an additional 36,000 new computing devices to students, and support schools as they disseminate any remaining devices they received from graduating students. Through Chicago Connected, the district is extending hotspot coverage for Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS) and expanding free, high-speed internet access to approximately 100,000 CPS students.
CPS's decision to begin the school year remotely was one made in response to CPS family and staff feedback, tailored to a district of CPS's size and complexity, and the district's immediate ability to implement necessary preventive measures amid a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases. Each school and school district is unique. CDPH does believe that if schools can effectively implement preventive measures and provide opt-out procedures for staff and students with certain medical conditions, that it is possible to safely open schools. These preventive measures are outlined in the PK-12 school reopening guidelines.
For more information about CPS's reopening framework, visit cps.edu/reopening2020.