The Chicago Teachers Union voted Sunday to defy the district officials, refusing to return to the classroom as Illinois rolled out re-opening plans.
Chicago Public School teachers and staff were set to return to in-person learning Monday, but with 86% voter participation, 71% voted in favor of continued remote work, according to a CTU statement.
This is also the first day the Board of Education requires educators in kindergarten through 8th grade to appear in person.
There’s no doubt we all want to return to in-person instruction. The issue is CPS’ current unpreparedness for a return to in-person instruction, and the clear and present danger that poses to the health of our families and school communities,” the CTU statement said.
FACT CHECK: There is NO PRESENT DANGER FROM CHILDREN
“A trio of new studies demonstrate low risk of COVID-19 infection and spread in schools, including limited in-school COVID-19 transmission in North Carolina, few cases of the coronavirus-associated multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in Swedish schools, and minimal spread of the virus from primary school students in Norway,” summarized a post on CIDRAP.
The researchers concluded that it is better to adjust infection prevention and control protocols according to community transmission levels than to close schools. “The results obtained during low to medium community transmission demonstrate the limited role of children in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in school settings,” they wrote.
“This is an important finding in view of the ongoing discussions on school closures and use of quarantine for a large number of children.”
Chicago Public Schools, which is the nation’s third-largest district, wanted roughly 10,000 kindergarten through eighth grade teachers and other staffers to return to school Monday to get ready to welcome back roughly 70,000 students for part-time in-school classes starting Feb. 1.
No return date has been set for high school students.
School officials said it’s time for teachers to return to the classroom and to help struggling students.
“We’ve seen grades, attendance, and enrollment drop significantly for many of our students in recent months, and the impact has been felt most by our Black and Latinx students,” the district said in a statement.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she believes the two sides are making progress on an agreement for teachers to return.