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Over 50 Chicago neighborhoods at double digit positivity as educators report unclean buildings, and Black and Brown parents continue to reject in-person learning for their children.

  • 6:30 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 5 — Press conference, Chicago Principals & Administrators Association, Chicago Teachers Union. Reporters, register at this Zoom link.
  • 4:15 p.m.: press conference calling for elected representative school board, Thompson Center, across from City Hall, 100 W. Randolph. This action is being convened by coalition members of the Grassroots Education Movement.

CHICAGO, Jan. 4, 2020—As Black and Brown families continue to reject sending more than 250,000 of their children back into unsafe school buildings, principals are joining educators in raising concerns about CPS’ reckless plan to bring students and staff into unsafe buildings this month.

The Chicago Principals & Administrators Association will join the CTU at a press conference via Zoom at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 4, to lay out shared concerns and urge Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to listen to parents and hold back on forcing workers and students into unsafe working and learning conditions.

Rank-and-file CTU teachers and support staff at schools across the city rejected CPS orders to start teaching students remotely from inside unsafe school buildings on Monday, teaching instead from outside their schools or from their homes (as they have been for months). A growing number of Local School Councils are passing resolutions urging CPS to hold back on reopening until the pandemic is under control, while CPS remains intent on forcing thousands more educators back into buildings this month.

More than 10,000 CTU members have pledged their opposition to the mayor’s plan to reopen classrooms starting this week, with numbers growing by the day.

Educators who returned to schools on Monday almost immediately began reporting problems with cleanliness, safety protocols, ventilation and more, with some members saying their rooms appeared not to have been cleaned since last March. CPS promised last summer to hire an additional 400 janitors to address CPS’ chronic school cleanliness issues, even as most of those positions appear to remain unfilled.

Most schools still have no nurse or health care worker on site during the pandemic, and CPS has yet to test aging school ventilation systems for their ability — or failure — to prevent spread of the virus.

While the mayor’s handpicked board of education continues to work remotely, CPS ordered pre-kindergarten and special education cluster teachers to return to buildings on Jan. 4 — six days before the mayor’s most recent stay-at-home order expires — and even as COVID infections are beginning to rise again. According to the city’s COVID tracker, more than 50 Chicago neighborhoods are confronting double-digit COVID-19 infection rates, and the city’s overall seven-day positivity rate has risen more than 13 percent.

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.