Alderman Says McCormick Place, Navy Pier, And More Could Be Used As Alternative Sites For CPS Classes

Rob Hart
June 12, 2020 - 8:13 am
School Classroom
CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- McCormick Place has been a convention center and a hospital in 2020, and now it might become a school.  
Mayor Lightfoot wants Chicago Public Schools to reopen this fall.  Some ideas under consideration to maintain social distancing in school buildings include staggered schedules and limits on the number of schools in classrooms.
She promised to be creative in crafting plans jointly with neighborhood leaders. Now, her hand-picked Education Committee chairman is being really creative, by suggesting McCormick Place.
City Council Education Committee Chairman Alderman Michael Scott, 24th Ward, said Thursday that McCormick Place, Navy Pier, Park District fieldhouses, and public libraries could be used as alternative sites to safely reopen Chicago Public Schools this fall. 
According to the Sun-Times, when a reporter suggested McCormick Place as a possible alternative site for in-classroom learning while maintaining social distance, Alderman Scott called it a “great idea” that should be explored.
“Navy Pier also has convention hall space that may be able to be used. The Park District may be an opportunity [also> because there are a lot of [fieldhouses> that are close to schools. Libraries may be another option. And then, you have big facilities like McCormick Place,” Scott said.
“The problem, though, is the ratio of teachers-to-students. If the science dictates that there can only be a certain amount of children, then you can’t split a teacher in half and make a teacher be in two places at one time.”
The Sun-Times reports Chicago Public Schools had an uneven experience with remote learning.  Fewer than 60 percent of students are engaging with remote learning three or more days per week. Vulnerable populations, such as kids who are homeless and black and LatinX students whose families have been disproportionately hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, are logging on at lower rates.
Tens of thousands of students aren’t being reached by their schools at all despite computer and internet access having largely been achieved.