CPS fall reopening plans still uncertain as Acero, CICS stay remote

Chicago schools reopening amid COVID: The latest

Welcome to our blog about Chicago’s school reopening. Prekindergarten and special education “cluster” teachers returned to campuses Monday, while about 1 in 3 students are expected to return Jan. 11. The bulk of the district’s returning 77,000 students are supposed to return Feb. 1. Chicago has not set a date for high school students to return.
Here’s the latest.
Tuesday, Jan 5. 6:30 a.m.
In a first joint appearance of the two groups, Troy LaRaviere, the head of the Chicago Principals & Administrators Association, joined a morning press call with Chicago Teachers Union leadership to critique the city’s reopening plan. He urged school district leadership to consult principals before moving forward.
“We’re the ones who have to implement the plan,” said LaRaviere, a former principal. “Ask any hospital administration who has been successful at keeping doors open safely, they’ll tell you they brought in anyone involved,” from administrators to custodians.
A Monday survey by the association of 300 principals and assistant principals, a fraction of its larger membership, showed that 22% of respondents said they had the staff they needed to reopen safely” and 17% said reopening in January and February was the right decision, with 64% saying the district timing was wrong; 19% of survey respondents did not answer that question.
LaRaviere said his membership wants to see joint bargaining between the district, its principals, and its teachers; a differentiated return timeline based on school readiness; a pool of cadre substitutes and staff dedicated to each school to fill absences and help with administrative tasks; and a public metrics threshold for when schools should be opened or closed. They also want a reconsideration of simultaneous instruction — when the district asks educators to teach remotely and in-person at the same time, similar to the city’s Catholic schools.
Anecdotally, principals’ reactions were mixed, he said. “Principals are not a monolith,” said LaRaviere. “For the most part, you have a big group of folks in the middle who are very frustrated and upset but not quite frustrated or upset enough to risk their employment.”
In the joint call, Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said that during a Monday evening call of 2,400 pre-K and special education cluster teachers who were asked to report back to work that day, 49% said they did not report to buildings. The district has not yet said how many teachers reported to work Monday.

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