In profession dominated by women, pregnant and nursing mothers were to be allowed to teach remotely where majority of CPS students remain, as COVID cases among students and staff rise.
- 7A Thursday, April 29: Press Conference with rank and file educators, officers on CPS refusal to honor MOA, respect educators. Reporters, please see your email for link to register.
CHICAGO—The CTU fought for and landed an agreement with CPS to protect school communities from COVID, and to create protocols for teaching and learning that minimize harm to Black and Brown neighborhoods already bearing COVID’s disproportionate burden. While CPS has been minimizing and lowballing COVID in schools for months, they’ve now added flagrantly violating both safety standards and accommodations commitments to their toolkit of abuses.
Educators will talk about CPS’ reckless rejection of its own agreed-upon safety standards and work rules at a press conference via Zoom at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 29. Reporters can register to attend via the link in their email.
Rank and file educators are mobilizing safety committees and safety campaigns at schools across CPS, with the struggles below drawing particular concern:
- In a truly stunning betrayal of mothers who are also educators, CPS is reneging on its promise to provide accommodations for both pregnant and nursing mothers, now saying nursing mothers must return to in-person learning or go on unpaid leave — but cannot continue to teach remotely, even as more than two out of three CPS students continues to learn remotely.
- Parents who are also educators are scrambling across the District to meet their childcare pick-up and drop-off responsibilities, as CPS’ central office rejects even 15 minutes of scheduling flexibility. Some parents are now feeling pressure to take unpaid leaves — at the same time that CPS says it’s concerned about staff shortages. #MakeItMakeSense
- CPS is trying to force overwhelmingly women educators at Nancy Jefferson Elementary School, who teach incarcerated students, back into classrooms that CPS itself agrees are unsafe. Key safety concerns include ventilation, cleaning and PPE. Educators are eager to return to in-person teaching, but want CPS to address safety issues before restarting in-person learning, particularly with COVID on the rise again in carceral settings.
- CTU educators had to threaten a job action against CPS contract school ChiARTS to force them to land a safety agreement before forcing educators and students back into classrooms. ChiArts’ management, which is supposed to be ‘overseen’ by CPS, wanted to force educators and students back with NO agreed-upon COVID testing, contact tracing or safety protocols.
- CPS refuses to pause in-person learning at STEM Magnet Academy, even as a third of the school is currently under quarantine and four unrelated COVID cases have surfaced in the last two weeks — conditions which should put in-person learning on pause for the entire school for two weeks. While CPS has a longstanding pattern of lowballing or outright concealing COVID cases in schools, keeping the school open during an outbreak is particularly dangerous, given the greater risk from more infectious, virulent strains of the virus.