Today we communicated to CPS CEO Pedro Martinez the Chicago Teachers Union’s expectation to participate in creating support and ensuring resources for navigating the national measles outbreak in our school communities.

We appreciated the unprecedented level of cooperation and transparency from the Mayor’s Office and City of Chicago during this public health event, which allowed us to quickly and proactively communicate with CPS, Delegates, and impacted schools.

While the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine is mandated for school attendance in Illinois, and Chicago is a highly vaccinated space, it is our understanding that there are a small number of students enrolled in CPS that, for a variety of reasons, are not vaccinated for measles.

While vaccinated employees are well protected against this disease, those students are not.

CTU has made offers of assistance to Chicago Public Schools and the City as they work to respond to these measles cases:

  1. School-based Vaccination Sites. During the Covid-19 pandemic at CTU’s urging, CPS held a series of school-based Covid-19 vaccination events, which CTU members helped to staff and drive participation for. Per our labor contract, each CPS school now has a school nurse, with the ability and expertise to aid in the coordination of vaccination efforts. While the nature and scope of this outbreak is different, the CTU believes school-based MMR vaccination events would be eminently worthwhile. Providing this immunity is critical protection for our communities and there are CTU members willing to provide support and assistance with staffing and sign-up.
  2. Homebound Services. Unvaccinated students who have been exposed to measles are required to quarantine for 21 days. This will require a coordinated effort to ensure those students are receiving homebound and/or remote education access. CTU members will of course be instrumental in delivering these services, and must be involved in the development of these plans.
  3. Translation Assistance. There will be an acute need for translation services as the district communicates with school community members around this public health issue. CTU members and staff are willing to assist in that effort.
  4. Communication to School Employees. The school district needs to maintain a high-level of communication and transparency about health and safety conditions in schools, immediately notifying school employees of risks and changed circumstances, and of the steps taken to mitigate them.

Honoring our contract is an essential part of whole school safety. Our 2019 strike won provisions like a nurse in every school. Our upcoming contract negotiations have to build upon and strengthen those protections.

But new levels of cooperation from Chicago Public Schools and the City still won’t be enough for our immediate needs.

Over the past year, we’ve been inspired by the many CTU members who have mobilized support for our newcomer students and their families arriving in Chicago, led by the tremendous efforts of our Latine Caucus and Organizing Director Rebecca Martinez. CTU members have volunteered to enroll children in schools, gather resources and communicate with families about critical vaccination and healthcare needs.

If you are interested and available to support this urgent effort to make sure every student is vaccinated and supported during this time, please fill out this volunteer form.

We are especially looking for those who are fluent in Spanish, who have proof of vaccination, or who can sign an attestation stating they have the MMR vaccination.

Thank you,

CTU Leadership