As lock-outs continue, CPS has yet to vaccinate 1,500 health care professionals eligible for vaccine in December, as mayor’s hand-picked school board still insists on forcing 10,000 more unvaccinated educators to teach in-person by Feb. 1.
- 6:30 a.m., Monday, Jan. 25: press conference — CTU rank and file members on struggle for safe accommodations, officers on status of bargaining. Reporters, please register at this link.
CHICAGO—Only 19 percent of eligible students returned to school buildings on January 11, yet CPS remains adamant about forcing another 10,000 educators back into buildings on February 1 — unvaccinated, with no safety guarantees in their classrooms or their buildings. At the same time, CPS is continuing to lock out pre-K and special education cluster teachers for exercising their right to a safe workplace by continuing to teach remotely.
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot’s insistence on reopening all elementary school classrooms without vaccinating educators by February 1 regardless of the risk to staff and students from the pandemic comes as thousands of CTU members are struggling to receive accommodations to remain teaching remotely to protect their own health or that of a beloved household member.
Rank and file educators who’ve struggled to receive accommodations from CPS to continue educating students remotely out of health concerns for themselves or a loved one will talk about the human face of COVID at a press conference at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, January 25 via zoom.
CPS failed to arrange for vaccinations for 1,500 class 1(a) CPS health professionals — school nurses, LPNs, speech pathologists, physical therapists and more — who were eligible to begin being vaccinated in December. While CPS has at last said it will move to vaccinate school staff, perhaps beginning in mid-February, it has refused to allow educators to be vaccinated before they’re forced back into school buildings that have struggled with even the most basic safety needs, from adequate masks and hand sanitizer to ventilation adequate to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
CPS has rejected adopting a nationally recognized health metric to determine if schools should be open or remain remote. The Union has proposed using CDC guidelines; CPS has said no. The Union has proposed staffing up schools as educators become vaccinated, since only 19 percent of eligible students returned on January 11 and most Black and Brown students remain learning remotely. CPS has rejected that proposal, instead insisting that every educator must be in every school teaching students remotely from their classrooms by this week, even if their classrooms have no students attending in-person. And CPS continues to either reject or simply ignore thousands of requests from educators for health accommodations for themselves or household members with cancer, hypertension, heart disease and other health conditions that put them at higher risk of COVID sickness and death.
Charter operators that include Passages, Epic, Latino Youth and Acero — one of CPS’ largest charter networks — have elected to remain remote until at least April when educators will have wider access to vaccines and the pandemic is under better control.