COVID-19 Safety Campaign
Members have been following the news of spiking cases of COVID-19 across the country and throughout the Chicago area, and there is a lot of concern about what it will look like to return to your building after winter break.
Today, in fact, Chicago just broke its own record for the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the city in one day, with 5,216. The city’s positivity rate has jumped from 4.9 percent to 8.6 percent in just three days.
We’ve been tracking the curve here at the Union, and as our concerns grew, I sent a letter to Mayor Lightfoot outlining the gravity of the situation. The letter reads in part:
“Our rank-and-file members, like educators across the nation, are at higher overall average risk from the consequences of COVID based on demographics alone. Our students’ families are at higher risk of COVID sickness and death based on demographics alone. We need protections that maximize safety for our school communities…”
When there are more necessary updates, the Union will send an email, a text message or both. Otherwise, please enjoy the holidays, stay safe and get ready to advocate for the safety of students and families, and for yourself and your colleagues. We are safest and strongest when we stand together.
Jan. 2 all-member tele-town hall
The day before the Jan. 3 return to buildings, we’ll hold a tele-town Hall at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2, to update everyone about the status of the pandemic, the latest regarding CPS plans and finalize next steps for the first week back.
School safety and COVID-19 testing surveys
In preparation for next Tuesday’s meeting, we are asking every rank-and-file CTU member to complete a safety survey so we know what the greatest needs are in every school and to get a sense of possible actions members are willing to take. We’re also asking each delegate to pull together a meeting of your school’s safety committees to assess the terrain — like fully implementing district protocols and mitigation measures — so we’re ready to demand what we need on the first day back at school.
Finally, but extremely important, prior to the Jan. 2 tele-town hall, we’d like each member to complete this short survey regarding your own COVID-19 testing status so we can get a sense of staff preparedness during the first week back.
Remind your families to send in their at-home COVID tests before school resumes in January
Before break, CPS distributed 150,000 at home COVID test kits to students at 300 schools in communities hardest hit by the virus. If your school received these tests, please remind your families to test their children on Dec. 28 and drop the kits in a FedEx Drop Box by Thursday, Dec. 30 (CPS extended the deadline).
CPS continues to insist that schools are safe and will reopen in person Jan. 3. But, for the first time, CEO Martinez also acknowledged that some schools may need to revert to remote learning if COVID cases continue to surge. The district has also purchased 100,000 laptops in anticipation of increased remote learning.
We’ve been demanding the mayor instruct her CPS team to establish a clear, uniform, transparent metric to determine when individuals schools or the entire district need to go remote. So far, she has refused.