Mayor has yet to accept offers from Gov. Pritzker to provide SHIELD tests to CPS in wake of holiday testing fiasco, as parents, electeds urge mayor to pause in-person instruction, implement critical mitigations, address massive vaccination gap among Black and Latinx children.

CHICAGO, Jan. 7, 2022 — Chicago public school families and educators from Bond, Jensen and Park Manor elementary schools will join Chicago Teachers Union officials to address reports that Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s CPS leadership has, for weeks, not accepted offers of resources for COVID-19 mitigation from the State of Illinois.

Union educators are currently locked out of classes and working remotely while negotiating with the district for improved safety mitigation amidst a surge in positive COVID cases. But according to a report today, the State offered “SHIELD tests, vaccination clinics and masks for the past several weeks,” and the “city has not yet taken the state up on those offers.”

Less than half of CPS students are vaccinated, at the same time that city numbers for vaccinations among Black and Brown children remain dismal, according to figures the Union obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request to the Chicago Department of Public Health. Jensen and Park Manor are all elementary schools that have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the deaths of two parents at Jensen, and the student population reduced to zero at Park Manor just days before winter break.

Testing, contact tracing and vaccines are critical components of robust layered mitigation, yet CPS continues to fall short on these and other mitigations. Meanwhile, school district in cities across the U.S., from Los Angeles to Washington D.C., have ramped up safety protocols in planning for reopening after winter break, including expanded COVID-19 testing.