Unlike their counterparts in the big school system south of Howard Street, teachers in Evanston/Skokie School District 65 are supporting a just-announced plan to return to in-person classes.

On Wednesday, District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton said a hybrid return to school, with some students in the buildings and others learning at home, will begin Feb. 16. District 65 has been on remote learning since school began in August because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement provided to Evanston Now, presidents of the five District 65 unions (teachers and other staff members) said the hybrid plan is acceptable.

“We believe that with the layers of safety mitigation measures that are in place and the guidance of the medical advisory board that the date for return is acceptable,” the statement said. “Our staff are now beginning to receive the vaccines as another safety measure,” the union leaders added.

In Chicago, the situation is quite different. The Chicago Teachers Union has said the reopening plan from Chicago Public Schools does not provide enough safeguards from COVID-19. Chicago teachers have until Saturday to vote on the union’s stance to refuse to report to school in person on Monday, but rather continue teaching remotely.

If the teachers vote not to return in person and try to continue online, there is a chance the Chicago district could lock those teachers out of their Google classroom accounts.

The dispute might then lead to another strike by Chicago teachers.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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