“We’ll get back to you” isn’t good enough during a global pandemic, when people, especially in our hardest hit Black and Brown communities, are still falling ill, suffering and dying.
The mayor has touted layered mitigations as successful for our schools. Those mitigations are from the MOU we fought for last spring — she has yet to agree to them for this fall. Those strategies worked at a time when only 25% of our families returned their children to schools last winter and spring. Yet today, we have 100% of our families returning. How does this make sense?
Though we are not at formal impasse, the pace of negotiations is frustratingly slow, and with the first day of school bearing down on all of us, the mayor’s CPS team is refusing to agree to a robust safety plan we can sign off on.
The mayor’s team continues to drag its feet on critical components of the layered mitigation strategies we need to keep our members, students and school communities safe and, at this point, we are looking at returning to school buildings without a full safety agreement.
The Delta surge has raised concerns from the district about attendance this fall, so it’s crucial that CPS begin bargaining in earnest over our proposals, and become partners in landing a safety agreement before the start of classes on August 30.
CPS proposes to offer testing to all adult teachers and staff but not to all students. Limited student testing would be triggered by the citywide transmission rate and, except for sports, only offered to unvaccinated students.
CPS is still attempting to roll back many of the health and safety protocols agreed to in the winter and spring, including six feet of social distancing where possible and metrics for school-wide and/or classroom shutdown or pause.
With the mayor and CPS imposing in-person instruction on all students beginning Aug. 30, the safety protocols we agreed to in the winter and spring must remain in place.