Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: July 3 – July 10, 2020

Despite President Donald Trump’s push for nation’s schools to reopen this fall, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the decision should be local

By Gregory Pratt and Jamie Munks for the Chicago Tribune

“Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday said the question of whether schools should reopen this fall must be a local decision, and she doesn’t put much thought into what President Donald Trump says, adding that it’s ironic for a Republican to advocate against individual states’ rights. “Making some broad declaration at the federal level and ignoring the particular circumstances of a locality, where they are … what their plans are, eliminating the possibility for some kind of a hybrid model, that doesn’t make any sense,” Lightfoot said. The city doesn’t know what’s going to happen in September, Lightfoot said. “We all want to do what’s in the best interests of our children and that’s got to be dictated by the public health guidance,” she said.”


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Says Announcement Coming ‘Soon’ on CPS’ Plans for Fall

By NBC Chicago

“As questions over returning to school in the fall continue to grow, an announcement is expected “soon” for Chicago Public Schools, according to the city’s mayor. Speaking at an unrelated press conference Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said details on the district’s reopening plan are set to be released, though she declined to give a specific timeline. “As with everything, we’re going to be guided by the public health guidance and we need to take our time and see where we are in the arc of this virus at that point. But having said that, of course, CPS with a lot of different stakeholders has been working on the reopening opening plan and what that will look like,” she said. “I will let them give the specifics, but we plan to make an announcement relatively soon about what that might look like. But of course, we have contingency plans, if our public health metrics are not where we need them to be in late August.” The state of Illinois has already unveiled its guidelines for the return to school in the fall, which could allow students back in classrooms.”


Face masks in school likely to be mandatory, so it is time kids get used to them now: officials

By Suzanne Baker for the Chicago Sun-Times

“Face coverings likely will become part of the required dress code for students at schools in the fall, and parents might want to start getting their children accustomed to wearing them now, officials said. As per the reopening guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health, all individuals in school buildings, including all public and nonpublic schools that serve students in prekindergarten through grade 12, must wear face coverings at all times. The only exceptions are for children younger than 2 years of age; those who have trouble breathing; or those who are unable to remove the cover without assistance. The requirement to cover the face is a hot button issue in the Naperville school community. Thirty of the 36 people who provided public comments at a recent Naperville District 203 board meeting addressed the use of masks or personal protection equipment.”


CPS will allow athletes to begin practicing on Monday

By Michael O’Brien for the Chicago Sun-Times

“Sports have been shut down in CPS since early March due to the coronavirus. The Illinois High School Association gave the OK to begin socially distanced workouts on June 6. But each individual school district had to approve the move. While most school districts around the state eventually got started, CPS has been waiting. CPS sent an email to principals, athletic directors and coaches announcing the restart on Wednesday. According to the email, CPS schools “may begin summer sports programming for student-athletes during the week of Monday, July 13.”


Chicago aldermen call for more transparency in school police program

By Yana Kunichoff for Chalkbeat

“Two years ago, Chicago aldermen called for hearings about Chicago’s school police program following an inspector general report that showed a litany of failures to screen and train Chicago police officers assigned to schools. But no hearing took place — until now. Amid nationwide protests against police violence, and a vocal youth-led movement calling for an end to school police at home, Chicago’s City Council held a virtual hearing Thursday on the school police report from two years ago. The five-hour meeting gave Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson a platform to review the police department’s efforts to reform the school police program, which Ferguson graded a B for effort but said was still too slow in implementing reforms, even with pressure from the federal consent decree on Chicago police. He also said it didn’t include enough community or school input in regard to the sweeping changes brought in this year. Chicago has 144 resource officers at schools, 48 mobile school officers, and 22 staff sergeants.”