Chicago Public Schools issued its own mask mandate for the 2021-2022 school year in July.

CHICAGO, August 4, 2021 Chicago Teachers Union statement regarding Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide mask mandate, previously addressed when Chicago Public Schools issued its own mask mandate for the 2021-2022 school year last month:

As we noted when Chicago Public Schools adopted its own mask mandate, school districts cannot employ layered mitigation practices, as outlined by the CDC, and both the city and state departments of public health, and not have a mask mandate associated with an unvaccinated population.

If both the science and the directives state that layered mitigation will keep school communities more safe, then this is what districts — including our own — must do to keep children 12 and under, and their families, safe.

But while we applaud the governor for his leadership during this pandemic, schools in Chicago will need more than masking as we continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic and its variants. This includes ventilation upgrades, testing plans for all members of school communities, nurses, social workers and counselors in every building, and a comprehensive home visit program to engage the families who overwhelmingly chose safety and remote learning in 2020-2021.

Last winter, our members took a strike vote for safety, taught outdoors in sub-zero weather and fought tooth and nail for access to vaccinations for educators, students and students’ families. Now, we need to go even further, and we strongly recommend that Mayor Lori Lightfoot comes to the bargaining table or empowers her team to collaborate with our union on a workable plan that builds upon the same safety and supports we fought for and won earlier this year.

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