CTU rank and file will gather at vaccine supersite Malcolm X College, as City’s Black and Brown neighborhoods struggle to access vaccine and CPS lock-out of educators looms.
- 6:30 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 26: press conference — CTU rank and file members, vaccine supersite Malcolm X College, 1900 W Jackson. This event is onsite, with rigorous social distancing, and will also be livestreamed on our Facebook page.
CHICAGO—Rank and file CTU members embraced President Joe Biden’s message Monday that school districts like Chicago should provide sweeping testing, contact tracing, safe ventilation systems and more in any push to reopen schools as the pandemic continues to rage.
Yet Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has yet to back off her plan to reopen all elementary school classrooms on February 1, even as CPS has struggled to implement even the most basic safety protocols at many schools. Only 19 percent of eligible pre-K and special education cluster students returned to classrooms on January 11. The vast majority of the District’s overwhelmingly Black and Brown families have instead stuck with remote learning, as the virus continues to hammer their neighborhoods and they struggle to access vaccinations.
Rank and file educators will gather at Malcolm X College, the mayor’s first vaccination supersite, at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 26, to call on Lightfoot to pause her rush to reopen until CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union have landed an agreement on a safe path to reopening schools. The supersite is located at 1900 W. Jackson on Chicago’s near West Side.
COVID cases have surfaced in more than 60 schools since CPS started forcing the latest wave of educators back into buildings on January 4. Yet CPS has rejected adopting the CDC’s health metrics to determine if schools should be open or remain remote. The District has refused to allow educators to be vaccinated before they’re pushed back into classrooms, and turned down or ignored thousands of requests from educators for health accommodations for themselves or household members with hypertension, heart disease and other health conditions that put them at higher risk of COVID sickness and death.
CPS could lock out educators as early as Wednesday, the day the mayor is demanding that more than 10,000 elementary teachers and support staff return to unsafe buildings despite the fact that the district and the CTU have yet to bargain an agreement to safely reopen. Educators have voted overwhelmingly to remain remote until an agreement is landed.
CPS charter operators that include Passages, Epic, Latino Youth and Acero — one of CPS’ largest charter networks — have rejected reopening, choosing instead to remain remote until at least April, when vaccines are more available and the pandemic is under better control.