Chicago Public Schools optimistic about return to virtual learning Tuesday, some critical of district's preparedness

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Rising 5th grader Tyreke Smith showed off schools supplies he and his grandmother picked up at Bronzeville's JRD Academy.

"We've been out of school for a long time, I've been missing school a lot," Smith said.

For now, Smith and every Chicago Public Schools student will be keeping their supplies at home as all remote learning begins Tuesday.

"I don't know anything about home schooling, but I got to figure it out because I have kids," said Jasmine Ford, a parent.

CPS parent Jasmine Ford has five kids to help teach at home. Her kids have been supplied with devices and CPS is providing free internet.

"We're providing up to four years of free high speed internet services for families that qualify, we will also have a series of affordable packages that may work for families," said CPS CEO Janice Jackson.

Jackson said the district is ready for the first day.

However, not all agree with Jackson.

"I don't think they are prepared, they know they are not prepared," said Crystal William-Hayes, CTU recording secretary.

The Chicago Teachers Union is concerned about what they said
is a lack of PPE for clerks who are required to do their jobs in the building and the cleanliness of schools.

"We are receiving pictures and reports from members as they are going into the building. People are even reporting foods and stains things left in their chairs from spring," William-Hayes said.

While the union does not think CPS is prepared yet, they have said the district has putting things in place to get prepared.

Despite the concerns teachers and parents have over the unusual school year, both share the same optimism that comes at the beginning of every school year.
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