CHICAGO (CBS) — On Monday, the very day Chicago Public Schools kids returned to school after winter break, there was a threat that they may go back to remote learning.
As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reported, some teachers do not want to be back in the classroom.
The executive board – the highest governing body of the Chicago Teachers Union – was set to meet Monday night. They will be voting to see if the issue of remote learning should be sent to the House of Delegates for a vote on Tuesday.
“My question to the mayor and CPS is simple – what will it take to shut down a school building when COVID is running rampant?” said CTU delegate Briana Hambright-Hall
Hambright-Hall is a school counselor and CTU delegate at Park Manor Elementary School. The CTU said during winter break, the school had a large number of COVID-19 cases.
“We are here again for a second time in a week, discussing the same safety concerns and issues dealing with our school community,” Hambright-Hall said.
The House of Delegates will be meeting at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to vote on whether to return to remote learning – as early as Wednesday. After the House of Delegates meets, an electronic ballot will go out to all teachers – asking them the same question.
CPS parents had to have their children complete COVID-19 test kits in order for students to return to school. Between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1, there were 1,870 students who tested positive for COVID-19.
A total of 35,223 tests were completed. OF those tests, 24,836 were invalid for several reasons, among shipping delay issues. Eighteen percent tested positive for the virus.
“It is really unfortunate that the mayor and CPS administration had poor planning on their part with the test kits being delivered, analyzed, and some test results coming back with unsatisfactory samples,” Hambright-Hall said.
In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the pandemic has shown schools are the safest place to be for students. She said $100 million spent on putting mitigations in place and with most teachers vaccinated, there is little transmission of the virus is seen in school settings.
Mayor Lightfoot also said in a statement that remote learning is not a “panacea” and comes with its own costs – including “significant learning loss,” “severe hardship on families who had to work and could not home-school students,” “mental health trauma arising from isolation,” and other factors.
NEW: Statement from @chicagosmayor
“The best thing that we can do for our students, staff and all our partners at CPS is to get vaccinated. Keeping kids safely in school where they can learn and thrive is what we should all be focused on.” pic.twitter.com/XWxT3socTH
— Ryan Johnson (@Ryan_Johnson) January 3, 2022
As to what would happen if teachers vote overwhelmingly to work remotely and do not show up for work Wednesday, CPS spokeswoman Mary Ann Fergus said in a statement:
“CEO (Pedro) Martinez is really hopeful that it won’t come to that. CEO Martinez and the CTU leadership have been talking today and will continue to talk and work to find solutions.”
Source: CBS Chicago