Chicago high school students wonder if they will return to classroom this school year

CHICAGO (WLS) -- While some Chicago Public Schools elementary students were able to return to in-person learning this week, high school students and parents wonder if and when they'll be able to do the same.

Nikolaj and Jovana Todorovski, both CPS high school students, are anxious to get out of the house and back into a real classroom after almost a year at the dining room table.

"It's not, like, the structure you have being physically in the building and you lose your motivation to do homework, sometimes participate in class, even turning on your camera is a big deal," Nikolaj said.

Both attend Lincoln Park High School; Nikolaj is a senior while Jovana is a freshman. Seven months into the school year, she has never met her teachers or classmates.

"If I don't know a question about something, usually I ask my friend or someone in my class, but it's hard to do that in a remote class because I don't know anyone," she said.

While some city private and suburban public high schools are returning, CPS high school buildings remain closed for students.

"I feel like we are the only ones left out and doing e-learning," Jovana said.

CPS CEO Janice Jackson said Monday the district is working on a plan with principals and teachers with the goal of returning before the end of the school year.

The Chicago Teachers Union spent months fighting the return of elementary school students, but the union is optimistic high school students will return in some form by the end of the year

Jackson said logistics at high schools are a bit trickier, so a reopening plan may vary across the district.

"There are some schools where everybody could come back because they are underutilized, but there are larger schools where it's going to be more difficult," she said.

Nokilaj suggested that larger high schools send other grades, especially freshmen, back first, since seniors will be pretty much wrapped up with their high school careers by spring.
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