Pandemic-scarred school year finally ends for CPS students, parents and teachers

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A year unlike any other has finally drawn to a close for Chicago Public School students.

Tuesday was the last day of school, much to the relief of parents and students alike.

Kids at South Loop Elementary enjoyed the playground and being outdoors on their last day of school.

Jennifer Farmer has four children at South Loop Elementary in addition to her preschooler Channing. She said she's ready to ring the final bell
on this pandemic scarred school year.

"It was a challenge, you know, getting everybody's schedules which are slightly different lined up and making sure they were on class and in class on time," said Farmer.

Mayor Lightfoot stopped by the school wishing students a good summer.

The principal expressed confidence that students are leaving on a much better note than when they started the year learning remotely.

Tara Shelton, South Loop Elementary Principal
"I feel that no matter what we ever encounter in the future, we are equipped enough with those skill sets to be able to do what's best for our students and our families," said Tara Shelton, South Loop Elementary Principal.

According to UIC Associate Professor on Human Development Sari Coba, children are resilient and parents do not need to play catchup this summer over concerns about educational loss

"I think what parents should focus on is just being outdoors, right? Spending time with their children in multiple ways, you know friends and family being outdoors, visiting museums, even in the back yard," said Coba.

As summer vacation officially begins, Farmer said she knows what's on the top of her wish list for her kids.

"Unplug, I want them off of electronics," said Farmer.

Her daughter Mya said she looking forward to summer and the one thing she won't have to do for a while.

"Finally don't have to do homework," said Mya.

Chicago Public Schools said its goal for next fall is for all students back in school full time.

But for now teachers, parents and students are all just looking forward to not having to think about school for a while.
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