These IL School Districts Have Gone Remote Or Canceled Classes

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ILLINOIS — Illinois parents, are your kids back to virtual learning?

If so, you’re not alone. As Illinois reports record hospitalizations and surging COVID-19 case numbers as the omicron variant spreads, some school districts in the Chicago area are going back to remote learning as they report shortages of staff and bus drivers.

Patch has rounded up the Chicago-area schools that have “gone virtual” or entirely canceled classes as 2022 begins and winter break ends:

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Chicago Public Schools

Classes have been canceled since Wednesday at Chicago schools after 73 percent of teachers union members voted in favor of a district wide move to remote learning.

Find out what’s happening in Chicago with free, real-time updates from Patch.

But while teachers were advised to log on to their Google classrooms and snap photos of themselves ready to work, the district has halted classes as district and union leaders clash over what district officials have categorized as a work stoppage.

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Chicago Public School CEO Pedro Martinez sent a letter to parents Thursday informing them not to send their kids to school for the third straight day “as we continue working to get CTU staff back in our buildings.”

Niles Township High School District 219

Niles West and Niles North are remote until at least Jan. 17 as the district takes an “adaptive pause” amid COVID-19-related staffing shortages.

The district notified parents of the shift to online learning just before 10 p.m. on New Year’s Day — less than two days before students were due back in school after winter break.

Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210

The district’s three schools started the new year with remote learning instead of coming back to classes after winter break. The district announced Monday that it was going remote until at least Jan. 7.

Instead, the district shifted to its emergency e-learning plan.

Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202

Plainfield schools used one of its five budgeted emergency days and canceled school on Friday due to issues with transportation and staffing shortages.

As a result of the impromptu three-day weekend, Friday’s attendance will be made up on May 27, the district said.

The announcement came after district officials warned families of transportation delays Wednesday and Thursday. Caused by the high rate of COVID-19 cases, the staffing shortage was expected to improve Thursday, the district told Patch.

Community Unit School District 300

The Algonquin district canceled school on Monday — students’ first day back from winter break — due to COVID-19-related staffing shortages, but went back to in-person learning on Tuesday.

Glenbrook High School District 225

The district shifted to e-learning Thursday, citing COVID-19 cases amid the omicron variant surge.

School officials said they anticipated returning to in-person learning on Jan. 18.

The district said that despite adding positions, hiring additional staff, recruiting more substitute teachers and the “valiant efforts of our Human Resources Department, Instructional Supervisors, and department assistants,” it is not able to provide adequate classroom and school supervision to maintain “reasonable operations.”

Township High School District 113

Shortages of staff and substitute teachers forced the district in Deerfield and Highland Park to shift to remote learning for a single day on Monday.

“Staff have been reporting absences due to sickness, quarantine and isolation comporting with the current Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) protocols,” Superintendent Bruce Law said in a message to parents. “These numbers have been increasing over the weekend to the point that we now do not have enough coverage for Monday, even adding building and district administrators to the list of available substitutes.”

Consolidated High School District 230

At Stagg, Sandburg and Andrew high schools, students’ first day back from break was via remote learning, rather than in-person.

District officials told Patch they planned to resume in-person learning on Jan. 10.

Elgin Area School District U46

The district closed five schools on Jan. 5. On Friday, the district said Nature Ridge and Glenbrook Elementary Schools, plus Horizon Elementary’s More at 4 preschool program, would be closed, but other campuses would be open.

For schools that were open, the district warned parents to be prepared for school bus delays on Friday.

Deerfield District 109: Substitute teachers wanted

While Deerfield schools remained in-person this week, the district put out a plea for help amid COVID-fueled staff shortages.

The district paused all extracurricular activities and said it was unable to fill 25 positions with its current crew of substitute teachers. As more than 60 people across the district reported testing positive for COVID-19, schools used instructional coaches, curriculum specialists, principals, and other employees who hold appropriate licensure to “keep school running.”

Mental health impact of remote learning

While Advocate Aurora hospitals are reporting a spike in pediatric hospital admissions — including an increase in children with COVID-19 in the ICU — officials there are still stressing the need for in-person classes.

“It’s really important for us to keep kids in schools. We know what the side effects were for children from last year in remote learning,” Frank Belmonte, chief medical officer of Advocate Children’s Hospitals, said Thursday. “So, we should be doing everything we can to keep kids in school and do it safely and empower our school districts to do it safely.”

25% Of Pediatric COVID Patients Are In ICU: IL Advocate Doctors

He also urged parents who had concerns about their children’s health to speak to their doctors.

“I would say if you have specific questions because your child has a specific condition or is immunocompromised condition, I would talk to your pediatrician about what is the safest route for that particular child,” he said. “But for the majority of kids, we have not seen major outbreaks in school or daycares. If it’s possible, keep them in schools.”

Related: Prairie State Community College Goes Remote For First Week Back

Amie Schaenzer, Patch staff, contributed to this article

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