Parent flyering, walk-ins, testing events, more to mark actions into next week as CTU members continue to call on Lightfoot’s CPS team to land safety agreement for testing, contact tracing, school vax, health metric — and adequate staffing in desperately understaffed schools.
- TODAY, 8:15a.m. – 8:35 a.m., Friday, October 15: B-roll opportunities at Barton Elementary, 7650 S Wolcott Ave.
- 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Friday, October 15: Free COVID vaccinations for ALL. Register for a shot at this link; walk-ins accepted! CTU HQ, 1901 W. Carroll Ave., Chicago.Friday’s FREE CTU vaccine event is open to everyone old enough to receive a vaccine. Registration is encouraged and walk-ins are welcome from 4-7 p.m at CTU headquarters, located at 1901 W. Carroll on Chicago’s Near West Side.
CHICAGO — The CTU is sponsoring a second day of free COVID vaccinations today at its West Side headquarters as rank and file educators in more than 50 schools stage Friday parent flyering, walk-ins and other actions to press Mayor Lightfoot to address persistent safety issues in schools. On Thursday, the Union also rolled out an informational livestream COVID Q&A with the CTU’s Tara Stamps and Dr. Juanita Mora of the American Lung Association to clear up confusion driving vaccine hesitancy, particularly among Black and Latinx households.
The dozens of schools staging actions this morning include parent flyering and a staff walk-in from 8:15 – 8:35 a.m. at Barton Elementary, located at 7650 S. Wolcott on Chicago’s South Side. Barton has been shortchanged of resources for years, and has struggled to address safety issues since the school reopened to students this fall — including a rodent infestation at the beginning of the school year. Actions will continue next week, starting Monday, and include COVID testing giveaways, parent outreach and walk-ins through next Friday.
Almost 90% of CTU members are vaccinated, and those still needing shots can get the COVID vaccine from 4-7:00 p.m. today, Friday, October 15 at CTU HQ. Friday’s FREE CTU vaccine event is open to everyone old enough to receive a vaccine. Registration is encouraged [click this link] and walk-ins are welcome at CTU headquarters, located at 1901 W. Carroll on Chicago’s Near West Side.
The CTU has been promoting and organizing vaccine events for months to get shots into arms and connect school community members with trusted health professionals who can answer questions, clear up misinformation, and reassure parents, workers and families about vaccine safety.
The CTU is again hosting Friday’s vax event without support from the mayor’s CPS team
On Thursday, the Union again called on the mayor to reverse course and at last collaborate with the CTU in protecting school communities from the pandemic.
The needs are serious. More than 150 schools lack a full-time nurse today, despite the persistent risk from COVID. CPS has failed to hire in 70% of budgeted and desperately needed new clinician positions, at the same time that the district is short roughly a thousand substitute teachers, along with hundreds of janitors, special education teachers and assistants, and more.
The mayor’s CPS team has received $2.6 billion in federal COVID relief funds, with the City receiving another $2 billion in aid to help residents recover from the economic and social devastation of the pandemic. Yet this week, the mayor’s bargaining team had the hubris to continue to insist that CPS cannot afford additional school staff — a position the CTU continues to flat-out reject.
Mayor Lightfoot’s CPS team has also failed to sign up more than a fraction of the District’s over 300,000 students for COVID testing — barely 18,000, according to numbers the mayor’s bargaining team provided to the Union this week. At the same time, the mayor’s top doc and CPS officials have yet to fully explain a contract tracing system that continues to draw fire for missed cases, slow notification of COVID cases in schools, and no verifiable procedures that follow best practices.
The CTU is demanding that the mayor’s CPS team keep the promise to test every student and adult in school communities for COVID once a week, and remedy persistent contact tracing problems — including no publicly deployed contact protocols. The Union also continues to call on CPS to stand up aggressive vaccine programs for students and families in every school community across the District — especially as the prospect of a vaccine for those under age 12 appears within sight.
Other key demands include a science-based health metric to determine when there is too much COVID in a school to learn safely in person. The Union won that protection in reopening agreements last spring — but the mayor’s team won’t agree for this year. That’s had dire consequences at Jensen Elementary, a small, chronically under-resourced West Side school that has surfaced at least eleven COVID cases, hundreds of quarantines and the deaths of at least two parents — even as CPS has refused to put in-person learning on pause to protect the school community.