FILE - Lori Lightfoot, Virus Outbreak Illinois Chicago Cubs

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot arrives at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Thursday, April 16, 2020. 

(The Center Square) – With COVID-19 cases rising in some areas of the state, many Illinois school districts are sticking with a hybrid approach for the fall semester with a combination of in-class and remote learning. 

In some cases, parents have been required to choose either in-person or remote learning.

In Effingham, parents were asked to make a choice of either in-class or remote learning by the end of July. Superintendent Mark Doan said only 14 percent requested remote learning, who then were instructed on what that entails.

“We want to make sure they fully understand what that means for their child to be in fully remote,” Doan said. “We have attendance (taken) every day, they got to be either in instruction or working on school work for up to five hours per day.”

Unit 5 in Normal also gave parents the option to choose which teaching plan they wanted for their children, but some voiced opposition to the school board, saying they would have like a definitive stance as opposed to giving an option. 

Superintendent Kristen Kendrick-Weikle said because COVID-19 is new and unpredictable, the plan is not set in stone.

Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday that the state’s largest school district will begin the school year with all-remote learning. The decision comes weeks after CPS proposed a hybrid model for most students featuring two days a week in class and three days a week at home.

“We are seeing an increase in cases,” Lightfoot said. “Combined with the trends that we are seeing, the decision to start remotely makes sense for a district of CPS’s size and diversity.”

City teachers argued conditions were not safe enough for in-person learning, and there were rumblings of a possible strike. Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey issued a statement after the announcement.

“Congratulations to the mayor for being willing to listen to the concerns of families, educators, community groups and health professionals," Sharkey said in the statement. "Now that she has stepped away from the dangerous Trump/DeVos scheme to force in-person learning this fall, we hope she will embrace guidelines set forth by real public health experts.”

Lightfoot has been a frequent critic of Trump.

Staff Reporter

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.