Elected officials, CTU call on CPS to address COVID-19 concerns prior to in-person learning

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CHICAGO — In concern that Chicago is moving too quickly toward resuming in-person instruction, over 40 elected officials and members of the Chicago Teachers Union are calling on Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to address needed improvements.

A group of elected officials and union members penned a letter to Lightfoot and CPS, aiming to increase non-screen learning and physical activity, while pushing to acknowledge the different impact COVID-19 has had on different communities.

“I do think we could potentially be exposing our families and staff and teachers to a dangerous environment,” 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez said.

Sigcho-Lopez worries the city is moving towards reopening without a clear, detailed plan on how it will be done safely.

CPS announced Friday that pre-K and special needs students by the end of December, with more students phasing back in as early as January.

CPS plans safety measures such as required masks, social distancing and temperature checks.

“Many of us are very concerned about our children returning to school – we want to see that happen. But in the meantime we need to make sure remote learning is better,” Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson said.

Johnson said the district should focus on improving remote learning, while investing in more testing, contact tracing and better ventilation. Johnson signed the letter sent to Lightfoot and CPS.

“The majority of deaths among teens and children have been Black and Brown and what we have not seen is a sufficient plan that would indicate to me as someone who is elected to represent Black and Brown families that we have a safe, viable plan,” Johnson said.

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