State’s largest school district considers some remote classes after break

State’s largest school district considers some remote classes after break

December 29, 2021 0 By Kevin Bessler

Families in Illinois’ largest school district may have to prepare for more remote learning after the holiday break.

The Chicago Public School district’s 330,000 students are scheduled to return to class on Jan. 3 as coronavirus cases rise in the city and the rest of the country. More than 1,300 students and nearly 800 adults reported positive COVID tests the week before Christmas, nearly tripling the previous week’s totals.

CPS officials have purchased 100,000 new laptops for $39 million in anticipation of more students needing to take classes remotely in January if cases of the coronavirus continue to surge. But district officials still hope to avoid a system-wide return to remote learning, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

CEO Pedro Martinez has repeatedly said the district will not close down unless there is a citywide order requiring it and the district will continue making closure decisions based on individual schools or classrooms.

Some central Illinois school districts switched to remote learning before the holiday break. One of them was the Virginia School District after 32.9% of students tested positive for the virus or had close contact who someone who had the virus. In Pike County, the Pleasant Hill School district said it was hit with both the flu and COVID-19.

CPS sent an email to families on Sunday encouraging students to take a COVID-19 test before classes resume.

In the email, CPS said to “please strongly consider getting your child tested for COVID-19 before they return to school on Monday, January 3 …. Especially if your family has traveled or if your child is feeling sick.”

CPS officials announced they would distribute 150,000 at-home tests to students in the communities with the lowest vaccination rates and highest number of cases.

The district recommended students get tested by Tuesday, Dec. 28 so families could receive the results before classes resume.

This as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that it will shorten the recommended isolation time for asymptomatic people who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to five days.

The change is based on data that shows that “the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days before the onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after,” according to the CDC.

“I want to be clear, our plans are to have our schools open on Jan. 3, our plans are to welcome our children for in-person instruction,” Martinez said at a news conference last week at City Hall. “But I need your help. I need the help of our families. We’ve been trying to make sure we ensure as much as we can that we can have a state opening back after break.”

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