By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools is extending its deadline for students who want to resume in-person learning.

The deadline to register for in-person learning is Tuesday March 23.

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“Tens of thousands of CPS students have safely returned to the classroom, and we want to ensure all interested families have the option to learn in person when the fourth quarter begins on April 19,” said CPS CEO Janice Jackson in a news release.

According to CPS, all families of students who’ve not returned were sent pot-in forms.

“This is the final chance families will have this school year to choose in-person learning for their children. If you receive a reminder and the details of your choice for the fourth quarter are correct, no further action is required,” Jackson said.

Jackson added that talks with the Chicago Teachers Union “are progressing” in terms of a final agreement to in-person learning, an agreement CTU has said is not in place.

“We hope to welcome back students on April 19. School leaders will tailor specific learning models to suit the needs of their school communities, but our goal is to offer nearly every student who wants to come back to school at least two days of in-person instruction per week,” Jackson said.

However, the move comes so late in the fourth quarter that many parents question if it’s beneficial for their kids. CPS is trying to gauge how many students will return next month.

For summer school, CPS said plans will be revealed in “the very near future.”

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CPS elementary schools have already reopened. Pre-kindergarten and special education students returned in mid January. 

CPS started the year with remote learning due to the pandemic and had been negotiating with CTU on a return to classroom instruction. Earlier in the summer, CPS was planning on a mix of in-person and remote learning, but backed off after objections from parents and the union.

“Providing high school students the option to safely return on April 19 is a top priority for the district, and we will continue meeting regularly with CTU representatives as we strive to reach a consensus that provides the smoothest possible transition for our families and staff,” Jackson said in her letter. “Negotiations are ongoing with CTU and we will continue to provide updates to families as discussions proceed.”

But the Chicago Teachers Union said there was “no agreement on returning to in-person learning in high schools on any date, nor will there be an agreement until we know our school buildings can reopen safely.”

The union called the CPS announcement “more unilateralism from the mayor’s handpicked Board of Education — a way to publicly roll out a boilerplate plan created behind closed doors with no educator support, stakeholder engagement, parent input or student agency.”

The CTU said high school students themselves – many of whom have been in CPS schools for their entire time in school, should be part of the discussions.

“Instead, we just have disappointing business as usual from the mayor and CPS, and efforts to create a more collegial, professional dynamic at the table have been met with nothing but complete misrepresentation of the status of discussions,” the CTU said. “So we reset.”

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The union said Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS must work with parents, students, teachers, and all others involved to devel

CBS 2 Chicago Staff