Mayor’s hybrid school plan falls short on safety for CPS’ overwhelmingly Black and Brown students, whose neighborhoods have borne brunt of COVID-19 deaths as August evictions loom and parents are being unsafely pushed back into workforce.

  • 9:00 a.m. Car Caravan assembles: CICS Chicago Quest High School, 1443 N. Ogden.
  • 9:15 a.m.: Press availability with educators, CTU officers, Quest HS.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Street theater, in front of CPS headquarters for Board of Ed meeting, 42 W. Madison. Car caravan to circle CPS.
  • Reporters: register at this Zoom link. To ask a question, type your question into Zoom’s Q&A panel, and it will be read to speakers.

CHICAGO—On Monday, after seeing upticks in our city’s positivity rate, Mayor Lori Lightfoot banned indoor bars from serving customers, reduced the number of people at restaurants to six per party, reduced the number of people in fitness classes to ten, and directed residential property managers to limit guest entry to five-per-unit to avoid indoor gatherings and parties.

Ironically, Lightfoot mandated these ‘budget-neutral’ changes as she and her hand-picked board of education is seeking to force students, faculty and staff into buildings for a full school day without allocating more resources for safety or specifying how they will keep them safe. That includes a total lack of proper development for remote learning—including hotspots and devices for students—and other critical additional resources needed to improve remote learning.

CTU teachers, clinicians and support staff reject the mayor’s strategy, which by design assumes that there can be some mortality and morbidity associated with opening school communities to in-person learning this September. CTU members will hold a press availability, car caravan and street theater starting at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, July 22, the date of the next Board of Education meeting, to highlight their concerns and call on the mayor and her appointed school board to reverse course and instead prioritize safety through remote learning this fall.

The mayor’s ‘hybrid’ plan fails to guarantee school communities will have what we need to open safely this fall: adequate cleaning for schools; adequate soap, water and disinfectant for students and workers; PPE for all; temperature checks and adequate staffing of health professionals in our school buildings; contact tracing; and fail-safe social distancing strategies that protect students, their families and workers.

On Monday, the Illinois Federation of Teachers called on school districts to open remotely this fall to protect students, families and educators from the spread of the virus. School districts from Los Angeles to Atlanta have moved to reopen only to remote learning this fall.

Last week, the Union released a report, Same Storm, Different Boats: The Safe and Equitable Conditions For Reopening CPS in 2020-21, that lays out the path to safely educating students during the global pandemic, including estimated costs—along with the dire consequences for students, educators and families of getting it wrong.

School districts across the nation are grappling with how to safely educate students as the virus rages, even as school districts struggle in the wake of years of chronic underfunding and threats from the Trump administration to further gut funding for public education. And more school districts—from Los Angeles to Atlanta—are opting for remote learning ONLY this fall, as the only way to safely educate students and protect workers, students, family members and community residents, as well.

Unions and grassroots groups are planning a national day of action on August 3 to demand the safe restart of education for public school students this fall via remote learning.

Reporters: register for the press availability and zoom feed at this link; please post your questions in the Q&A section of the Zoom platform:

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at