CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools have released the number of COVID-19 cases since school started two weeks ago.
In the first two weeks of school, CPS reported 245 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — 155 were students, the rest adults. Another 5,400 kids and staff have been identified as being in close contact and potentially exposed.
Taft High School recorded the highest number of confirmed cases in the first two weeks — just eight cases, but those cases have led to 550 close contacts.
From the beginning, CPS students, parents, staff and the Chicago Teachers Union knew the 2021-22 school year would be a challenging one.
The Chicago Teachers Union has criticized CPS for not being more transparent with what it reports, rolling back some safety protocols and the lack of a widespread Covid testing program.
CTU is demanding the implementation of more safety measures from the school district. The union issued a statement saying, in part, “Educators and families have waited 11 days or more to receive notice of confirmed COVID cases in their schools. CPS still has no comprehensive vaccine plan — or can even identify who in our schools is actually vaccinated. Social distancing is simply impossible in overcrowded schools, even as CPS is stalling on the union’s right to inspect ventilation systems for safety.”
On Wednesday, Pedro Martinez, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s choice to lead CPS and it’s next CEO, shared his thoughts on teaching students.
“In person instruction is what the majority of our children need, especially children in poverty, that’s what they need, that’s where they learn the best,” he said.
Martinez is a graduate of Benito Juarez High School and grew up in Chicago. He currently runs schools in San Antonio, Texas. If approved by the board, a big part of his job will be managing the virus to keep kids and CPS staff safe, and in the classroom.