A suburban Chicago school district has said “students of color” will get the first chance to return for in-person learning when schools reopen, citing “a pandemic” of “inequity and racism, and classism” that preceded COVID-19.

Because District 65 won’t force teachers to work on-site, school buildings may not be able to accommodate all students who would like to come back to their classrooms. In that event, Superintendent Devon Horton reportedly said, the district would give priority to “Black and Brown students,” and others it considered to be “marginalized” or “oppressed,” according to Fox News.

“This decision aligns directly to the guidance released by the Illinois State Board of Education on June 23 in using an equity lens to implement and transition into blended learning. This was also a top idea recommended by our Community-based Task Force,” school district spokeswoman Melissa Messinger told Fox News. “As a community deeply committed to educational equity, we will continue to root our decisionmaking on how to best serve our most vulnerable student populations.”

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“We are in a pandemic,” Horton said, according to a report from the Evanston Roundtable on Tuesday. “And we also know that everyone is affected by this differently. But there was a pandemic before this. That was inequity and racism, and classism and all of these other things. And so I just want to make sure that as we’re making a decision – no decision is going to make everyone happy – we understand that.”

The debate to reopen schools in the U.S. amid the coronavirus outbreak has been a fierce one. Teachers’ unions have held dramatic protests with carboard coffins to help illustrate the health concerns they face, as previously reported by 100% FED Up. They are largely supported by Democrat politicians who say that any of these reopenings are just another example of President Trump’s recklessness.

Horton added: “I’ve heard for quite some time that this is a community that’s about equity for Black and Brown students, for special education students, for LGBTQ students. We know that this is important work, and we’re going to prioritize that.”

According to Deputy Superintendent Latarsha Green, the district will prioritize categories including “students receiving free or reduced lunch, Black and Brown students, students who received an I [Incomplete] or less than 50% on their report cards, emerging bilinguals, and students with IEPs.”

The school district did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. Classes are scheduled to begin with remote learning on Aug. 27, with a potential in-person option beginning Sept. 29. The number of available spaces reportedly depends on teachers, availability of bus transportation, and the capacity of school buildings.

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