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An update to members and allies on CPS reopening plans:

Although some principals continue to tell staff otherwise, Chicago Public Schools officials told us during bargaining today that they do not plan to reopen school buildings to returning students and staff on Monday, Nov. 9.

Why? Two reasons:

  1. We’ve heard from school after school that parents surveyed by CPS overwhelmingly responded that they were not comfortable with their children returning for in-person learning.
  2. Because CPS and the mayor know that buildings aren’t ready to be reopened, despite their claims in the press.

Chicago’s positivity rate for COVID-19 is currently 10 percent. The seven-day rolling average for daily cases is more than 1,200. This is up 36 percent from the previous week.

But we’re supposed to celebrate HEPA air filters and glowing ventilation reports from CPS’ handpicked specialists?

CPS continues to refuse to allow the Union or independent experts access to buildings for safety tests. Today’s news on air quality in buildings throughout the district is a red herring, intended to distract school communities from:

  • The continued COVID-19 surge throughout our city
  • The mayor and CPS continuing to defy an arbitrator’s order while CPS clerks’ entire families are contracting COVID-19 after being exposed in schools
  • The fact that most work by clerks, clerk assistants and technology coordinators does not have to be done in schools
  • The mayor and CPS continuing to keep the results of the district’s parent survey a secret

We suspect this last point is because the results are similar to the results from the summer, when CPS parents — Black and Brown parents especially — refused in large numbers to send their children into unsafe school buildings.

The difference now is that the numbers for COVID-19 are much higher and much more dangerous, while the mayor and her handpicked Chicago Board of Education have given school communities even less reason to trust them to make decisions without educator input.

If your principal is telling staff to prepare to return to school in person next Monday, please make sure you share this update with them. Please also let your CTU field rep know if your administration continues to insist on following this reckless November 9 directive.

In safety and solidarity,

Jesse Sharkey
CTU President