Over 50 Chicago neighborhoods at double digit positivity as educators report serious safety failures at schools and Black and Brown parents continue to reject in-person learning.

  • 6:30 a.m., Monday, Jan. 11: Davis Elementary press conference with teachers, parents in solidarity with pre-K teachers who are defying CPS orders and teaching remotely, 3014 W 39th Pl., Chicago, 60632.
  • 7:30 a.m.: Whittier Elementary, parents’ picket line opposing reopening and press availability with 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho, 1900 W 23rd St Chicago, 60608
  • 8:15 a.m.: Suder Elementary, teachers to set up to teach remotely outside the school in solidarity with pre-K educators forced back into the building, 2022 W Washington Blvd Chicago, IL 60612. B-roll opportunity ONLY after 9:00 a.m., as teachers will be on the clock teaching until school day ends.
  • 10:00 a.m. City Council hearing on school reopenings. Virtual: meeting info at this link. CTU witnesses will include environmental control experts flagging dangerous issues surrounding ventilation in school buildings.

CHICAGO, Jan. 11, 2020—Mayor Lightfoot’s CPS management team is continuing to order thousands of pre-K and special education cluster teachers back into unsafe school buildings, even though many have few or no students returning to classrooms on Monday.

School communities and their educators and families are pushing back.

At 6:30 a.m. TODAY Davis Elementary educators and parents will hold a press conference in solidarity with pre-K teachers who are defying CPS orders and teaching remotely. COVID is surging in the the Brighton Park neighborhood that houses the school, with one in 8 residents testing positive for the virus and an overall positivity rate of over 16% and rising.

At 7:30 a.m., Whittier Elementary parents will mount a picket line opposing reopening, and join 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho for a press availability to lay out their safety concerns and call for the mayor to wait to reopen schools. Families at the Pilsen school include working class frontline workers who’s neighborhoods have been hammered disproportionately by the virus.

At 8:15 a.m., educators at Suder Elementary on the West Side plan to set up to teach remotely outside the school in solidarity with pre-K educators who are being forced back into the building. They’ll be on the clock and teaching by 9:00 a.m.

At 10:00 a.m., the CTU will testify at a virtual City Council hearing on school reopenings, with Union witnesses to include environmental control experts who have flagged dangerous issues surrounding ventilation in school buildings. Those issues include CPS’ failure to test a single ventilation system for its ability — or failure — to prevent the spread of COVID in classrooms.

Teachers, clinicians and staff who returned to school buildings last Monday found serious safety issues that put the lie to claims by the mayor and CPS that all buildings would be ‘safe’ and ‘ready for students’ on Jan. 11. Safety deficiencies ranged from empty hand sanitizer dispensers, classrooms that clearly hadn’t been cleaned for months, and no PPE or cleaning supplies to portable HEPA filters incapable of filtering air adequately — or no portable HEPA filters at all.

One school asked workers whose rooms had no portable HEPA filters to sign a release saying they would not hold the school “liable for any health consequence of been [sic] in the building.”

The number of Local School Councils formally opposing CPS’ reckless reopening plan continues to grow, as well, including Lorca Elementary in Avondale/Logan Square and Chopin Elementary in West Town.

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.