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Under the direction of Governor Pritzker, the Illinois State Board of Ed last Friday filed emergency rules that allow the state superintendent to declare a requirement to use Remote Learning Days while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

We met with CPS about its remote learning plan and forthcoming guidance this weekend, and after a planning week and Spring Break, remote learning begins the week of April 13.

Remote learning in Chicago’s public schools has to be mutually agreed upon by the Union and CPS. We can report that you will continue to work, and continue to receive pay with no risk of layoff. We’ve won other assurances regarding tenure and REACH. While Spring Break will be a break week, we ask you to please respect the current situation and continue to be available to your school families.

Questions and issues will undoubtedly arise. CPS has agreed to instruct principals to meet PPCs, and of course teachers should contact their delegates and the Union. Field reps, organizers and other union personnel are on the case.

Remote learning will never replace in-person classroom instruction. Our work with special education students has shown that. Equity issues abounded before remote learning, and won’t be solved by it. Yes, we need devices and Internet access for every one of our students, but we also need affordable housing, health care for all, and homeless and trauma supports.

Now is the time to help one another, however, and make sure we stay connected to our colleagues and school communities. Learn from your Union sisters and brothers about what works, and be ready to help students and parents through these unprecedented times.

The CTU Remote Learning Guidance document on our website should answer many of your questions. For further reference, ISBE’s Remote Learning Recommendations During COVID-19 were released last Friday. You can click here to log into the MemberLink portal to access documents attached to CPS remote learning guidelines, which contain templates and examples to use in your planning.

Even though we have assurances from the district, we will continue to meet with them regularly to update guidance and deal with issues as they arise. CPS has stressed “empathy, grace and flexibility” in this process.

And we will remain vigilant while keeping our hand on the steering wheel to help our school communities through this challenging time.