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37% of eligible Chicago students to attend in-person class

December 16, 2020 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Roughly 37% of eligible Chicago Public Schools students plan to return to in-person classes when the nation’s third-largest school district begins reopening next month, officials said Wednesday.

CPS announced last month the district would resume in-person learning in phases in early 2021 because remote learning wasn’t serving many students in the largely Black and Latino district where most students are low income. CPS began remote learning in March due to COVID-19.

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However, CPS data show a disproportionate number of students expected to return are white. About 23% are white, 30% are Black, nearly 39% are Latino and about 4% are Asian. Overall student enrollment in the district is nearly 11% white, about 36% Black, nearly 47% Latino and about 4% Asian, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Schools CEO Janice Jackson said about 77,000 of the roughly 208,000 eligible students in pre-kindergarten through 8th grade and in special education planned to return. A date for high school students hasn’t been set.

“When we talk about offering more options for parents, we’re serving a large swath of our families who believe this is the best choice for their students,” Jackson said. “And we believe we have a moral obligation to do so.”

The Chicago Teachers Union has fought in-person learning, questioning safety protocols.

Illinois reported 7,123 new COVID-19 cases and 146 additional deaths Wednesday, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.