CPS K through 5th grade students to return to in-person learning for 1st time in nearly a year

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More Chicago Public Schools students are getting ready for their return to in-person learning.

Kindergarten through 5th grade students are set to return to the classrooms Monday morning for the first time in nearly a year.

In addition to K through 5th grade students returning, 6 through 8th grade teachers will be back in the classroom, with still no word about high schoolers.

RELATED: CPS says at board meeting it aims to reopen high schools by end of school year

As each phase progresses there are still CPS parents asking why they still haven't gotten their seat at the decision-making table.

"I look at this as his first chance at normalcy again," said CPS parent Janet Luszczki.

Luszczki's son, Hunter Nielsen, is in 5th grade at Lenart Regional Gifted Center. She said her 11-year-old can't wait to get back into the classroom.

"This is going to be so important for the kids," she said. "It was a very unusual year with a lot of stress for the kids, a lot of stress for the parents, stressful for the teachers."

Luszczki said she has spent the days leading up to Monday walking him through what would be his "new normal," starting with bringing a face mask and some other new school supplies.

READ MORE | CPS reopening: Pre-K, cluster students return to classroom

"Some of the things that they asked us to do is get a bin and label it," Luszczki said, "and paper towels Lysol wipes individual handy wipes."

She said she has every confidence the district has prioritized safety for all.

"They did a great job. I feel 100% safe that my son is returning to school," she said.

For Joseph Williams, that's not the case.

"We still don't feel that is it safe enough just yet to send our children back to school," he said.

RELATED: Chicago teachers approve tentative deal to reopen CPS classrooms, CTU says

The father of five CPS students, ranging from kindergarten to high school, has opted to keep them all at home, wishing the return to school plan was staggered out grade by grade.

"I really felt that phases should have went maybe by grade levels," he said. "Grade level by grade level, where you have opportunity to vaccinate teachers per grade level and take it as a slow process to working in."

More importantly, Williams said he had hoped and still hopes parents will get their chance to be part of decision-making with the district going forward.

"They have to be a part of the decision-making that's happening within CPS. You know it's sad because I do feel like that family that's left out of what's happening right now," Williams said. "We feel like we're not a part of the process."

Williams said he is organizing a sick-out for Monday and will be joined by other parents who have the same concerns as he does.

This, in an effort to get the attention of CPS to bring parent voices to the table.
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