CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools asked for input about its goal of hybrid learning in the fall.

More than half aren’t at all pleased with the plan.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams listened in on the first of several virtual meetings. He reports parents are concerned their children will not be safe in the classroom. School officials outlined their safety plan during Monday’s online forum. For those parents still afraid, there’s an alternative.

“Welcome to the first engagement webinar related to school opening for the fall of 2020,” said CPS CEO Janice Jackson.

The online meeting drew 1,500 participants, school officials said. Most of them parents, who could post questions. One topic dominated the discussion: How will CPS keep students and teachers safe from COVID-19?

Right now, school is set to start on September 8. A hybrid of online and classroom instruction, but that could change depending on the latest coronavirus information.

“I want people to know we will not open school under circumstances if it is not safe to do so,” Jackson said.

If schools do open, students would be placed in groups or ‘pods’ of no more than 15 to maintain social distancing. Parents wanted to know what happens if a student or teacher tests positive for the coronavirus.

“There will be a process for people to report whether they’ve become a case of COVID-19. Where was this child, or where was this teacher exactly (and) who were they with,” said CPS Chief Health Officer Dr. Kenneth Fox.

The pod they were in would close, and anyone with direct contact with the teacher or student would likely quarantine for 14 days. Additional janitors are being brought into schools and officials said they’ll have plenty of hand sanitizer and wipes.


“I know a lot of people might have a hard time understanding it. When you go to the store these items are not as readily available. But on the district level, we’ve been able to acquire a lot of these materials,” said Clarence Carson, CPS Chief Facilities Officer.

Throughout the session participants could share their level of concern. A clear majority, 65%, said they were at least somewhat not comfortable with reopening plan. Jackson emphasized this: if parents are not comfortable sending their children into schools,they can do online classes only.

There is a registration period, so officials can know how many students will be learning at home.