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Mayor’s ‘budget-neutral’ plan for desperately under-resourced school communities fails to provide adequate safety protections as deadly pandemic spreads.

CHICAGO, July 17—The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today in response to CPS’ release of it’s hybrid reopening plan for over 500 public schools this fall:

The Chicago Teachers Union remains steadfast in its call for CPS to resume school this fall with full remote learning.

Though the mayor and CPS released their “framework” for reopening based on a hybrid model with both in-school and at-home learning, the reality is that it is simply too dangerous for students, educators and their families to attend school in person.

The mayor says that CPS’ plan for reopening will be “budget neutral,” further demonstrating that CPS has no plan to bring on the additional staff necessary to address the risks of conducting in-person school during the pandemic. It’s impossible to resume in-person schooling without more investment, including additional teachers to facilitate smaller class sizes and counselors to address the emotional needs of students impacted by the pandemic.

The decision by the mayor and CPS to expend time, energy, and money on a plan to reopen school buildings rather than prepare to make full remote learning more rewarding is irresponsible.

This will inevitably place students and educators at risk of exposure. In a school district where 8 out of 10 students come from Black and Latinx communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, the decision to return children and educators to the classroom has the potential to further enflame the pandemic in our city.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.