Black and Brown residents continue to bear burden of COVID-19 cases in Chicago, as cases inch up and new studies show young children can be significant sources of COVID-19 spread.
- 11:00 a.m. Car Caravan assembles: CTU HQ, 1901 W Carroll, Chicago
- 11:15 a.m.: Press availability with educators, CTU officers, CTU HQ.
- Noon: Street theater, speakers, City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.
CHICAGO—This Monday, CTU rank and file educators will join grassroots community allies to demand that Chicago’s mayor invest in real education equity for Chicago public schoolchildren—and protect their safety by opening classrooms remotely this fall. The action is part of a national day of action for education equity, with dozens of cities participating, from Baltimore to Los Angeles.
The CTU is staging a car caravan Monday at 11:00 a.m. at CTU HQ, 1901 W. Carroll, with a short press availability at 11:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. departure for a noon action at City Hall. The day’s actions will be livestreamed on the CTU’s Facebook page.
The CTU has called for the City’s public schools to open this fall to remote learning only—and for the mayor and CPS to focus on making remote learning as robust and enriching for students as possible. That includes ensuring that every student and family has access to broadband and an adequate device to participate in remote learning. CPS fell far short in providing broadband and devices to students this spring, even as one in five CPS students—particularly Black and Latinx students—lack access to broadband in their neighborhoods.
The union is also calling for critical supports for Chicago’s working class families, including a continuing moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, which experts fear could soar as moratoriums expire across the nation. And the union wants to see federal, state and local authorities provide families with a guaranteed basic income along the lines of federal supports of $600/week for at-risk and laid off workers set to expire today.
School districts from Los Angeles to Atlanta have moved to remote learning only this fall, while the mayor continues to back her ‘hybrid’ plan for in-person learning. But that plan fails to adequately lay out how chronically under-resourced school communities will have what we need to open safely this fall, from adequate PPE, effective social distancing strategies and safe HVAC systems to temperature checks, rapid-response virus testing, contact tracing and health professionals in every school building.
On Thursday, IL Governor J.B. Pritzker said the state had reached a ‘danger point’ as cases continue to grow across Illinois, while the nation’s teacher unions are considering safety strikes to protect students, families and educators from the perils of in-person learning. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has reimposed social distancing restrictions—including banning bars from serving customers indoors—but continues to insist on reopening schools to in-person learning. A growing chorus of parents voiced their support this week at CPS meetings for instead safely restarting school this fall via remote learning.
Chicago’s positivity rate has jumped from 3.9% to 4.6% over the last week—an increase of almost 20 percent. Cases are back up to an average of 266/day over the last week—a third higher than the 200 case-per-day limit the City said two weeks ago was the threshold for imposing additional restrictions to promote social distancing. based on CDC guidelines.
But on Wednesday, the mayor’s health and school officials announced that they were comfortable with a daily case load double that of their earlier CDC-driven recommendations—to 400 per day—before they would consider closing schools to in-person learning.
That announcement came even as the City has publicly expressed the need to keep positivity rates under 8%, currently the trigger for increased action. Yet a huge swath of the city—17 Chicago zip codes—is already beyond that trigger threshold. Those zip codes are concentrated on the South and Southwest Sides of the city.
COVID-19 continues to disproportionately hammer Chicago’s Black and Latinx residents, including low-wage ‘essential’ workers—precisely the groups that make up CPS’s student population.
In the 60633 zip code, which includes Hegwisch, over half of which is Latinx, and Riverdale, which is overwhelmingly Black, cases rose week over week ending on July 25 by more than 14%. For Zip code 60632, including Archer Heights, Brighton Park and parts of West Elsdon and Gage Park, week over week cases rose by more than 11%. For zip code 60628, which includes the overwhelmingly Black neighborhoods of Roseland and parts of Pullman, West Pullman and Riversdale, cases rose by almost 9%. For zip code 60629, which includes overwhelmingly Black Chicago Lawn and majority Latinx West Lawn, health officials registered 80 new cases for the week ending July 25, an increase of almost 9%. That zip code has registered one of the highest number of cases in Chicago—more than 3,800.