CHICAGO — As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on so does the fight over in-person learning. Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union remain at odds over the issue.
The district, teachers and parents all contributed to the reopening plan but the CTU continues to say they’re not being heard. This caravan is another enough to get their message out.
The CTU continues to plead for a safe school reopening plan.
“The plan that the district that has made was made without teacher input without parent input and it is a plan that has many holes and is not safe,” Linda Perales, Special Ed teacher, said.
Last week, preschoolers and special ed teachers returned to in-person learning. Elementary school teachers and staff are due back next week with their students returning the following week.
The teachers want to slam the breaks. They point COVID reported in more than 50 schools since buildings reopened.
“They’re not taking into consideration teacher input. We work in these buildings, we work with the students, we know the capabilities as well as the conditions of our buildings and classrooms, Lily Aranda, teacher, said.
“We have had cases at schools and we’ve followed the protocols that we have in place. One of things I have said is I cannot promise a COVID-free environment, no one can,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson said.
On Tuesday, at Belmont-Cragin Elementary School, Jackson made her case for resuming in-person instruction.
“We know that the phased in approach was the right approach. We know from looking at other school systems who had done something similar and so starting with our Pre-K and students in diverse learning programs was critically important because we know those are the students who have been least well served with remote learning,” Jackson said.
Jackson ran through the list of enhanced safety. The district has purchased masks and sanitizer for every student and employee and improved cleaning methods for schools.
“Our city’s health department has made clear that we can have safe in-person instruction,” she said.
CTU and CPS remain far apart but Jackson said the district will continue to engage the union.
“It has to be that we’re talking about how to reopen schools safely, not a debate about whether or not schools should reopen,” she said.
CTU is expected to convene House of Delegates to discuss a work stoppage and other possible actions.