Chicago Public Schools students will be expected to be in front of a computer — and participating in classes — for several hours a day this fall, according to a framework released Tuesday.
However, based on the new guidelines, younger students will spend less time in live instruction.
Students also will be expected to do learning activities on their own to put in a full school day, which is about seven hours. The framework includes time for lunch, art and gym, though how those classes will be delivered is unclear.
The guidelines also stress that students and teachers will be held accountable, just like they would be during a regular school year. Attendance will be taken every day, and teachers will have to be available all day.
And students will be getting grades. Unlike in the spring, where every student was promoted, those who don’t show up and work will fail and have to repeat the course or grade level.
Parents and teachers have been waiting for information on how remote learning will work since the decision was made this month that CPS won’t be having any in-person learning until at least Nov. 8.
But there are already signs of trouble with the new guidelines. The Chicago Teachers Union filed a grievance with the school district on Tuesday.
The grievance says the contract requires teachers and their students to have access to curriculum, text books, computers and software, but that so far the school district has made no provisions to make these things possible.
The union wants the school district to give them “access to all the infrastructure necessary to conduct remote learning.” They also want teachers and staff to get more time for training and collaboration.
Ideally, the union would also like for CPS to adopt something like what Los Angeles Unified School District is doing for its first week of school. Instead of classes starting right away in LA, students, teachers and parents will participate in “Smart Start,” spending the week making sure they can get on the internet, know how to use the technology and understand expectations.
CPS did not immediately have a response to the grievance.
A multi-point plan for each school, and internet access for every student
Tuesday’s colorful document, titled Final Reopening Framework, does not provide any information about whether teachers and students will be given textbooks or supplies to use at home.
The plan says all students will have digital access, and students should keep the computers handed out to them in spring. Students without internet access can get free service through a special program called Chicago Connects, according to the plan.
The plan also says the school district will meet the social emotional needs of students, but it does not lay out exactly how. Instead, it says parents can contact their school social worker or counselor to request more information about these services or resources.
In addition to digital access and social emotional learning, the multi-point plan includes: using Google Education Suite; meeting instructional minutes requirements for all subjects; providing live instruction daily; taking student attendance daily; ensuring clear communication with families and students; and establishing ways for teachers and staff to get training, provide feedback and collaborate.
Sarah Karp is an education reporter at WBEZ.