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Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation collaborate on vaccination effort, open to the public, to help students and families return to school buildings safely in the fall.

  • 3 p.m., Thursday, June 10: Press availability with Chicago Teachers Union Foundation director, CTU officers and rank-and-file volunteers, CTU Center, 1901 W. Carroll, Chicago
  • 3-8 p.m. Thursday, June 10: Public vaccinations and pre-appointments, CTU Center, 1901 W. Carroll, Chicago

CHICAGO, June 9, 2021 — As part of a mobilization by teachers, paraprofessionals, clinicians and other school staff to maximize safety for Chicago Public Schools families and students, the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Teachers Union Foundation are holding a community vaccination event Thursday, June 10, at the Chicago Teachers Union Center at 1901 W. Carroll. Parents, eligible students and any resident of the city of Chicago can make an appointment or walk in from 3 to 8 p.m. on Thursday to receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Rank-and-file CTU volunteers have joined community groups this week to canvas nearby neighborhoods and school communities with information on Thursday’s event, targeting families and high-risk communities on the West Side, where the Union has its home base. Vaccines will be available to anyone aged 12 and up, but youth under age 18 will need a guardian in person to provide consent. No one will be turned away, but appointments are encouraged at www.CTU.sh/vax.

The CTU was the first union in the nation to secure vaccinations for students and family members as part of its reopening agreement with CPS, which inspired other unions across the country to call for vaccinations for their school communities. The result was a safer reopening for CPS school buildings this spring, yet hundreds of thousands of eligible students and families remain unvaccinated.

Getting students and vulnerable family members vaccinated is a key component to bringing students back to school safely in the fall. As part of the reopening agreement, the Union has been partnering with CPS on vaccine events at schools across the South and West sides, in communities that have been hardest hit by COVID.

“We’re proud to be supporting the health and safety of our communities,” said Chicago Teachers Union Foundation Executive Director Carmen Curet. “We know getting shots is still a real challenge for tens of thousands of Chicagoans, and it’s a privilege for us to be able to help ease that burden for our students and families.”

Despite strong safety guardrails reached in the Union’s reopening agreements with the district, COVID has still surfaced hundreds of time in public schools in recent months.

Since Spring Break, CPS has been averaging about 100 new COVID cases per week, with students now surpassing adults, making getting shots into young people’s arms more critical than ever.

According to a CTU analysis of COVID numbers, 7,958 people and 558 classroom pods have had to quarantine due to school-based COVID exposure since January. Only 108 schools — about 20 percent — have not experienced any reported COVID cases this year, with case counts highest in high schools that include Taft (11), Chicago Agriculture (10) and Jones HS (9). Amundsen HS, Beard, Bouchet, Ogden ES, Sauganash and South Loop have each reported at least 8 cases.

The Union is also concerned about timely contact tracing of cases identified in schools. That lag time has been a persistent and troubling issue. While the average duration of school-based exposure was two days for the month of May across all schools, it was exceptionally high at schools that include Bright (12 days); Lawndale (14 days — and as long as 37 days in at least one case to inform the school); Crown (6 days), and Hamilton (8 days), dragging out COVID risk for people in those school communities.

The CTU and CPS expect to begin bargaining a reopening agreement for next fall in the coming weeks.

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.