Pre-K and cluster classes are ready to go for safe return of students next week at South Shore Fine Arts Academy with desks spaced six feet apart with individual school supplies, disinfectant wipes, an air purifier
"It would be a lot more communal in a regular setting, but it is a little separate, but feels like school," said Vicki Brown, CPS principal.
Showing off all the safety measures put in place is part of Chicago Public Schools public campaign to gain the confidence of the school community, especially teachers who may be hesitant to return.
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"The district has invested over $100 million in school reopening," said CPS CEO Janice Jackson. "I think that shows good faith that we are trying to do this in a safe manner."
But it's not good enough for the Chicago Teachers Union. CTU continues to fight a reopening.
"What about starting the vaccination program, delaying school then extended school?" said CTU President Jesse Sharkey.
CPS CEO Jackson said while the district is willing to be flexible with its plan, the union keeps changing its demands. CTU blasted the district for putting teachers in a position to come to school or take unpaid leave.
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"We have a contractual relationship between the district and Chicago Public Schools," Jackson said. "We are not making anyone do anything."
Only half of the teachers required to report to school buildings Monday, showed,
Jackson says that number has increased since and she is confident enough teachers will be in school January 11 when Pre-K and cluster students return.
Thousands of K-8 staff members are required school buildings on January 25. It's the same day the state labor board is scheduled to take up the union's case.
K-8 students return for a hybrid schedule February 1. Jackson said CPS has the legal ground to open and an enough mitigation strategies to do it safely.
All CPS families were given the option to stay remote.