CPS reopening: Pre-K, cluster students return to classroom Thursday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The first wave of Chicago Public Schools students return to their classrooms Thursday after the district and the Chicago Teachers Union agreed on a deal for COVID-19 protocols.

The deal came after weeks of contentious negotiations, but Willie Preston said his 4-year-old daughter did a "happy dance" when the pre-K student found out. He's also happy.

"This is the start of Chicago coming back from COVID, and I'm really, really excited about that," Preston said.

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Under the plan, students, teachers and staff will have a staggered return to their physical classrooms.

Pre-K and cluster students will return Thursday. Kindergarten through fifth grade returns on March 1 and sixth through eighth grade goes back on March 8.

So far, no date has been set for high school students to return.

Ebonie Davis and Tequila Singleton have children in CPS cluster programs. They say in-person learning is crucial to their kids' development.

"She has goals and benchmarks that she needs to attain," Davis said.

"He would have more of a hands-on type of learning environment," Singleton said.

For families that didn't opt in for in-person learning, there will be another opportunity to opt in before the fourth quarter starts in April.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson toured William H Brown STEM Magnet School in West Town Thursday morning and discussed how prioritizing students was the only way to keep moving forward through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Mayor Lightfoot discussed CPS' return to in-person learning Thursday morning.

"Our public is the spine of our city; every neighborhood in our city revolves around the ecosystem of the local neighborhood schools, and a healthy, vibrant, stable and nurturing public school system is a key barometer of the present and future outlook for our city," Lightfoot said.
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