CHICAGO, July 22, 2021 Chicago Teachers Union statement regarding Chicago Public Schools’ health and safety updates for the 2021-2022 school year:

Chicago Public Schools cannot employ a layered mitigation practice, 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 the district must do to keep children 12 and under, and their families, safe.

Overall, Mayor Lightfoot’s CPS team needs to go beyond the bare minimum of engagement and provide additional safety through vaccines — including in-person outreach in communities where vaccination rates are low. Neighborhoods ravaged by COVID-19, like Brighton Park, Belmont-Cragin and Hermosa have more than 500 students per elementary counselor, more than twice the recommended number. Throughout the district, 100 schools will not have a full-time social worker this year, and 180 schools will not have a full-time nurse.

CPS has $2 billion in federal money to recover from COVID-19. Students need physical and mental health care during a pandemic, and right now, the mayor and her district aren’t providing either.

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