Parents agree it’s unsafe to return to in-person learning despite CPS plans to re-open as early as this month; unions consider mediation to land enforceable safety standards.
- 6:30 a.m., Monday, Nov. 9: CTU/SEIU Local 73 press conference via Zoom. Reporters: preregister via the link in your email.
CHICAGO, Nov. 8, 2020—According to a Chicago Teachers Union survey of parents just before the election, parents overwhelmingly reject returning to in-person learning until the spread of the COVID-19 virus is under control. Parents instead want Chicago Public Schools to focus on improving remote learning while the district also lands safety protocols for testing, contact tracing, ventilation and other needs.
Rank-and-file CTU and SEIU Local 73 members and officers will discuss the new polling data and next steps at a press conference starting at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 9, via Zoom.
Students, parents, families and educators have been pleading for transparency and agency from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS for months. But those appeals have fallen on deaf ears, with CPS instead assembling a plan to bring pre-kindergarten and medically vulnerable special education students back into unsafe buildings as early as this month — with virtually no parent or educator input.
One in five district-run schools have reported positive COVID-19 cases since the school year began, including over a dozen schools reported to the Union learned last week, despite an arbitrator’s Oct. 2 ruling that CPS buildings are unsafe. One teacher died last month, and hundreds of other workers have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19 in more than 100 buildings since CPS forced school clerks, technology coordinators and other workers back into buildings beginning in late August.
The Union is considering invoking mediation, which helped secure an agreement between the CTU and CPS during the October 2019 strike. CPS and Mayor Lightfoot’s handpicked Board of Education have so far refused to bargain with the CTU and SEIU Local 73 on enforceable safety standards in school buildings, or allow the CTU to exercise its contractual right to inspect CPS ventilation repairs.