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Chicago push to reopen city schools becomes more contentious

Sophia Tareen, Associated Press |

Only half of Chicago Public Schools teachers expected in schools ahead of preschool students’ anticipated return next week showed up, district officials said Tuesday in an increasingly contentious battle over classroom learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

The nation’s third-largest district plans a gradual return to in-person classes starting this month after going remote last March, which the Chicago Teachers Unions has fought over safety concerns.

District officials say online learning isn’t working for many students in the district where most of the roughly 355,000 students are low income and Black or Hispanic.

“We cannot sit back and allow a generation to just falter because of made up reasons around why we can’t do reopening,” district CEO Janice Jackson said at a news conference. “A year from now there is going to be a reckoning around what happened to those students that have been sitting at home, not being properly served.”

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