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Uptown’s Goudy Elementary, 4 Other CPS Schools Flip To Remote Classes After Hundreds Placed In Quarantine

School will be held virtually this week and return to classes on Monday — if cases continue to fall.

Goudy Tehnology Academy in Uptown.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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UPTOWN — Goudy Technology Academy is among five CPS schools that moved to all-virtual classes this week after more than 240 students and staffers were put into quarantine at the Uptown school.

The school safety committee at Goudy, 5120 N. Winthrop Ave., voted to flip the school to virtual learning effective Monday, according to an email from school administrators.

Four other schools also are doing all-remote learning this week after the schools’ safety committees voted to halt in-person learning, according to CPS. That is a new measure granted to schools after the CPS and Chicago Teachers Union standoff over COVID-19 protocols that led to a five-day work stoppage earlier this month.

James Madison Elementary in Grand Crossing, Nixon Elementary in Hermosa, Burnham Mathematics & Science Academy in South Deering, and Sandoval Elementary in Gage Park all are doing five days of virtual learning this week, according to CPS.

Tilton Elementary in West Garfield Park voted to flip to remote Jan. 14 and is now beyond the five-day virtual learning period. 

All Goudy students were asked to stay home beginning Monday, but “direct” virtual instruction didn’t begin until Tuesday, according to the email. Goudy students and families were asked to pick up virtual learning equipment from the school Tuesday, school administers said in the email.

Per CPS protocols, the first of the five days is considered “asynchronous” learning to allow for teachers to lesson plan for virtual classes, according to the district.

That effectively meant school was canceled Monday for some kids who did not already have a means to attend virtually, according to a parent at the school.

The virtual format will remain for the rest of the week, though CPS is not holding school Friday for a teacher development day.

Students are scheduled to return to the building Monday “unless case numbers show that it is not yet safe for them to do so,” Goudy Principal Pamela Susan Brandt and Assistant Principal Bill Yeh wrote in an email to school families. A follow-up email will be sent to confirm the return to classes, the administrators said.

Families were notified Friday of the school building closure. That same day, the number of people at Goudy in quarantine rose to 240, according to CPS’s covid tracker.

The number of quarantine cases at Goudy dipped to 224 on Sunday and 179 on Monday, the data shows. Goudy reported 15 “closed cases” of COVID-19 at the end of last week and has not reported any more such cases since.

Credit: Screenshot/CPS Covid Tracker
Goudy saw 240 placed into quarantine last week.

Sandoval Elementary saw a peak of 341 students and staffed placed in quarantine last week, according to CPS data. That number dipped to 298 in quarantine as of Monday.

Nixon Elementary reported 255 in quarantine on Friday, dropping to 123 Monday. Burnham had 165 placed in quarantine Friday and 111 on Monday. Madison had a peak of 85 put into quarantine over the weekend, but that number was down to 16 as of Monday.

CPS abruptly changed its COVID-19 tracker to only show school-based coronavirus cases confirmed by contact tracing, instead of all pending cases. The district did not publicize it was using different criteria, frustrating parents who learned about COVID-19 cases at their schools but did not see them reflected on the district’s dashboard.

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez defended the switch Tuesday, saying it will provide more accurate data and eliminate some double-counting that occurs when parents self-report cases. He acknowledged doing the switch unannounced was confusing and are considering incorporating pending cases again.

Goudy has 563 students, including kindergarten and pre-kindergarten classes.

The school district saw 1,320 positive cases of coronavirus last week out of 53,353 tests completed for a positivity rate of 2.5 percent. The prior week saw a 5.5 percent positivity rate.

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