CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools students will not be returning to class when they head back to school next month – the school district made it official that it will start the fall term through e-learning.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Wednesday night, some question whether every child will get a fair education under the circumstances.READ MORE: Two Simeon High School Students, Both 15, Killed In Shootings Four Hours Apart
Despite classes being done online, it will be mandatory for all CPS students to log on. Unlike in the spring, what students do during e-learning in the fall will account for their grade.
And community groups are ready to step in to keep the learning field equal.
At 75th Street and Stewart Avenue on Wednesday, Tamar Manasseh and her crew were finalizing the transformation of an empty lot and some old containers.
“We’ve turned these shipping containers into classrooms,” Manasseh said.
Her group, Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings – or MASK – offers free support through the Study Buddy program. Low-income students and families can get assistance during what is now mandated e-learning for all of CPS.
“What does e-learning mean to kids who don’t have internet access? What does e-learning mean to children who don’t have the devices to keep up with their work because they don’t have computers?” Manasseh said.
Up to 10 kids can gather in one pod for a limited amount of time of learning.
Manasseh said the waiting list is filling up. She believes low-income families will be most affected in the e-learning process.
“And more often than not, they get left out. Those kids get left behind,” Manasseh said.READ MORE: SWAT Team On Scene On Division Street On Near North Side
Yet she is ready to deal with an influx of kids once parents are forced to the task.
“Everyone doesn’t have the luxury of staying home,” Manasseh said. “People still have to work.”
The city is putting up free wi-fi for families who need it – 100,000 students can use it. CPS said it will also have hardware for home use for those in need.
“Parents should expect a full day of instruction and engagement for their students,” Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson said Wednesday. “Teachers should expect to be at work the full time they’d be working if they were in a school setting.”
But Manasseh points to more than tablets in homes.
“There are a lot of adult literacy challenges,” she said.
Manasseh believes the learning gap will only get wider, because in many cases, some low-income parents dropped out of school themselves.
“The children of parents like that shouldn’t suffer because the parent can’t keep up,” she said. “That’s what community is for.”
Remote learning takes off on Sept. 8. Just about everyone is watching closely to see how the process goes.MORE NEWS: COPA Releases Video Of July Police Shooting During Foot Chase In Bronzeville