Shoesmith interior file photo

A second grade student draws a picture at Shoesmith Elementary School, 1330 E. 50th St., on March 5. 

About a quarter of eligible Chicago Public School elementary school students came back to classrooms in February and March, as most local schools exceeded the district average of expected students who actually returned to the buildings.

Of the CPS students in pre-K through 8th grade who were expected to return for in-person learning, about 73% did during the week of March 8. Reported rates at local schools in ascending order are:

  • Fiske, 6020 S. Langley Ave., 43%
  • Reavis, 834 E. 50th St., 55.6%
  • Ariel, 1119 E. 46th St., 56.4%
  • Murray, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave., 63.5%
  • Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., 74.5%
  • Kozminski, 936 E. 54th St., 76.8%
  • Shoesmith, 1330 E. 50th St., 79.3%
  • Carnegie, 1414 E. 61st Place., 86.7%
  • Bret Harte, 1556 E. 56th St., 88.3%

It is unclear how many total students are attending each school in-person.

The percentage of students who had been expected to attend in person but ended up attending virtually ranged from 38.5% at Fiske to 8.2% at Carnegie. In Hyde Park-Kenwood, the biggest drop-off was at Reavis, where 34.30% of students who had been expected to come back to the classroom remained learning remotely; the smallest, at 8.5%, was at Shoesmith.

The percentage of students who attended virtually was highest at Shoesmith (94.4%) and lowest at Reavis (80.10%). 

Overall attendance that week, in ascending order, was:

  • Fiske, 79%
  • Reavis, 83.5%
  • Kozminski, 87.6%
  • Ray, 91.3%
  • Murray, 91.9%
  • Ariel, 92.4%
  • Shoesmith, 92.8%
  • Bret Harte, 93%
  • Carnegie, 93.5%

CPS reported about 28,000 fewer elementary school students district-wide returned to the classroom than had been projected in December. The district also expected more pre-kindergarten and special needs students to come back to the classroom than actually returned earlier this year.

Principals have told Chalkbeat that families have held their children at home because of child care complications and schedule changes as teacher assignments change while some district educators continue working remotely. They also cited safety concerns, something parents told the Herald last month they were worried about.

“While in-person attendance rates aren’t comparable to pre-pandemic levels, the district is encouraged to see an increase in school-based attendance the longer students have that option available, especially among our youngest learners and students in cluster programs,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson in a statement. “Schools offer children a stable learning environment, and we look forward to welcoming additional students back to the classroom on April 19.”

High school students are expected to be able to return to their classrooms on April 19, pending labor negotiations.

Across the district, CPS reported that the daily attendance rate is increasing the longer that schools have been open. Pre-kindergarten and special education cluster programs began with 55% attendance on Feb. 11 and were at 69% on March 12.

Chalkbeat has additionally reported that about 15,000 surveys sent out on whether students would stay learning remotely or go back to school in person were not returned.

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