Chicago Public Schools needs to make remote learning adjustments, CTU says

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Monday, September 21, 2020
Chicago Public Schools needs to make some remote learning adjustments, CTU says
Midway through the first month of school for Chicago Public School students, the city's teachers union says adjustments need to be made.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As Chicago Public Schools begins its third week of remote learning of the school year, the Chicago Teachers Union said Monday that while some things are working, other areas need improvement.

"I see my kids and I know that we can do better by them," said CPS Spanish teacher Lori Torres.

CTU hosted a virtual news conference continuing to voice their concerns over CPS's back-to-school plan.

"It's hard, it's a pandemic and I think that should be our starting point, that this is just not normal," said CTU President Jesse Sharkey. "This is us going through a dire public health emergency."

The focus Monday was on in-person work conditions for CPS clerks and staff.

"We shouldn't be going into to work in buildings with potential risk for things that can be done remotely," Sharkey said.

Also, for elementary school learning, CTU members said the duration of screen time is negatively impacting younger students.

"I'm watching kids have struggles to stay focused, one. Two, to stay awake," Torres said.

As for school clerks, CTU members were told they would be able to go back to remote working last Friday, but that has not been the case.

"We're concerned about this week with testing on the high school level, having students come into the building which wasn't part of the plan," said Lucille Thompson, clerk at Schurz High School.

And as for CPS clinicians, including speech and physical therapists also working on site, Dr. Sharon Gunn said. "My major concern is that we are placing high risk students in a potentially compromising situation due to COVID...As therapists, many us believe our students will not be able wear a mask and or social distance."

Other issues expressed Monday morning include access to devices and high-speed internet. Governor JB Pritzker's administration said Monday that it is awarding $80 million to state schools to help close that digital divide.

ABC7 has reached out to CPS for comment and have not heard back.