Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Chicago Public Schools announced Wednesday that schools will begin with remote learning when the school year begins in the fall.
CPS CEO Janice Jackson and Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the plan Wednesday, seeking to assure parents that while learning would take place exclusively online the schools would not be "cobbling things together" as Jackson suggested was the case when schools closed in March.
"There will be more of a traditional infrastructure that you see in a school setting; we're going to stand that up in a remote setting," Jackson said. "Teachers have to be available throughout the entire day to students."
Jackson said a final plan would be released Friday, but outlined that when schools reopen, attendance will be mandatory, the district will revert to normal grading and educators will be able to conduct classes from their classrooms in the schools.
The plan also includes a goal to move to a hybrid plan that would return students to school in November.
Officials originally planned to begin the school year using a hybrid plan in which students would attend in-person classes two days a week on a rotating basis, but said they opted to begin with online instruction after feedback from parents and public health guidelines.
CPS also faced pushback from the Chicago Teachers Union after they threatened to strike amid rising COVID-19 cases and its president, Jesse Sharkey, said last week Lightfoot did not "have the guts to close the schools."
Sharkey on Wednesday praised the move as a "win for teachers, students and parents" while adding CTU members should be equal partners in improving the remote learning experience.
"We have a long way to go and a short time to get there," Sharkey said. "CPS must immediately start planning transparently and in partnership with our union to provide every student the educational, social and emotional supports they need to learn and grow."