The school year is here—or almost here—for students, parents, teachers and principals, and it’s certain they are wondering about what the year holds.
Archdiocese of Chicago schools are returning to in-person learning, although some of its schools are using a hybrid model in which students will be in the building on some days and have e-learning on the others. Students will learn in cohorts when they are at school, and various safety measures will be implemented—including students wearing masks.
Chicago Public Schools officials announced that remote-learning will be used during the entire first quarter. Classes will begin Tuesday, Sept. 8, and the quarter will end in early November.
The decision to go remote came a few weeks after city officials proposed a plan in which most students would follow a hybrid model.
Now, they won’t be back in their school buildings until at least November.
No one can predict what will happen a week or two into the school year in Chicago. In a school district in Georgia, almost 1,200 students and staff were ordered to quarantine after detection of positive cases of COVID-19.
Chicago students haven’t been inside their schools since March, and education won’t be the same when they return.
E-learning will continue, with students picking up where they left off in June, but problems could arise if technology presents its usual glitches.
Many working parents and guardians will need to arrange for additional childcare, increasing their daily responsibilities.
Other concerns surround the dependability of students to wear facemasks during the entire school day, especially young children.
School administrators said they will provide more opportunities for students to get outside, but that could be hampered by Chicago’s infamous weather.
The Archdiocese of Chicago designed its plan with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) as well as other state health officials and infectious disease experts.
As a result, Superintendent Jim Rigg expressed confidence in schools welcoming back their students.
“The CDPH has recognized that our school system is different from CPS and supports our specific plan to re-open,” Rigg said. “If this guidance were to change, we would adjust our plan accordingly.”
Remaining patient, and insisting others do the same, is still important during the pandemic, but 2020-21 will also require everyone to be willing to adjust.