The decision by the mayor’s team at CPS to go mask optional starting Monday, March 14, is just one more example of their blatant disregard of our right to collectively bargain, not to mention the humanity of educators who make the schools function each and every day.
The mayor has prioritized the wishes of Tom Devore — an opportunistic, right-wing extremist hundreds of miles away from Chicago — over the wishes of the people of our city.
We reached an agreement with Chicago Public Schools in January that guaranteed masking in schools — along with other critical COVID-19 mitigations for safety — through the end of the 2021-2022 school year. Should CPS move toward making masks optional without bargaining to do so safely, we know that this refusal to honor our agreement will have consequences.
Our January 2022 safety agreement with the district is legally binding and unaffected by the court’s decision.
Sample safety committee letter to parents in wake of 2/4/22 Temporary Restraining Order on mask-wearing
This letter is to be used by school community safety committees to help parents understand protections we continue to preserve despite the Sangamon County temporary restraining order on mask-wearing.
If both the science and the directives state that layered mitigation will keep school communities more safe, then this is what districts — including our own — must do to keep children 12 and under, and their families, safe.
Mayor Lightfoot’s CPS team needs to go beyond the bare minimum of engagement and provide additional safety through more school-based vaccinations and increased nurse, counselor, case manager and social worker staffing.