There's a lot wrong with the decisions CPS and the mayor make around our schools. It's hard to know where to begin sometimes. Perhaps the most glaring in this case is how this plan was hatched by district officials all by themselves. No educators, parents, students...nothing.
Tomorrow marks two weeks since an independent arbitrator ordered CPS to allow clerks, clerk assistants and tech coordinators to work remotely due to school buildings being unsafe. Since then, the district has done absolutely nothing to comply with the order except undermine it.
Illinois recorded 4,015 new coronavirus cases today, which is a single-day record. Today's 53 deaths are also the most in a day since late June. Every state surrounding Illinois is on the city's emergency coronavirus travel order.

We are still in the midst of a raging pandemic.
CTU members have reported 25 CPS campuses with positive COVID-19 cases since Oct. 1. This is with minimal staff. Imagine thousands of educators and students in buildings on a daily basis. That's a potential disaster. Especially with schools used as polling places on Nov. 3.
We will soon be rolling out a citywide school COVID tracker, because CPS and the mayor have refused to share this info with us after we repeatedly asked and submitted FOIAs. The number of positive cases in our schools also hasn't been shared with the general public.
The science of COVID as it relates to children continues to evolve. But sending our youngest and most vulnerable children back into buildings at this point is a very risky proposition. Schools, by nature, are designed for social interaction. That cannot happen right now.
"Mayors argument is unsound," says one of our members. "She said 'social distance' the kids. She knows nothing. Pre-school and cluster children DON'T social distance or wear masks. They require hand-holding in cluster and a lot of hands on assistance from teachers."
Says another: "I’m a SPED Pre-K teacher in a small, blended classroom! I work with a gen ed teacher, a SECA and 15 children in the mornings, 15 children in the afternoons. How is this going to work?"
In July, CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the 400-case mark was the rolling seven-day benchmark for CPS to move to full-time remote learning, meaning "Are we at a place where maybe school couldn't be open?"

Chicago's current seven-day rolling average is 442 cases.
There are going to be hundreds, if not thousands, of questions about this in the coming weeks. Not to mention positivity rates continuing to climb in communities like Roseland, South Chicago the East Side, Lawndale and Ashburn.

Let's see if CPS and the mayor have answers.

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More from @CTULocal1

16 Oct
Our members been weighing in pretty clearly regarding CPS' and the mayor's plans to return students to unsafe school buildings in Nov. Remote learning isn't ideal, but it's safe as COVID cases rise, and parents, students and educators need to know they will be protected. #thread
This is feedback from many of our special education and early childhood educators...many of whom are also CPS parents. They have questions. Other parents have questions. And they all deserve the answers that will make them confident in what CPS and the mayor are mandating.
Mask wearing is a problem for students with cognitive disabilities, sensory needs, deaf and hard of hearing (mask hides visual clues), language deficits.
Read 7 tweets
13 Oct
Also, we welcome plans from CPS and the mayor to boost educator diversity. It's something our union and partners like @GrowYourOwnIL have been working on for years.

But before that, CPS needs to care for, respect and nurture the Black and Brown teachers we already have. #thread
Black teachers were 41 percent of the CPS workforce in 2000, according to Illinois State Board of Ed Report Card data. That percentage had plummeted to 21 percent by 2019.
Nearly a quarter of the schools in our district, in a city that is 1/3 Black, have one or no Black teachers. In 2001, there were about 10 CPS schools with no Black teachers. Now there are more than 60. What does that say about how we value Black and BIPOC students and educators?
Read 10 tweets
1 Sep
CTU members returning to buildings are reporting dust, uncleaned spills, rodent droppings and a lack of PPE, hand sanitizer, signage, social distance markings and plexiglass. No way CPS would have been ready for 400,000+ people in schools next week.…
“It was obvious that my classroom was never ‘deep cleaned.’ For example, the students’ chairs still had crumbs and milk spills on them. The room was covered in a layer of dust.”
“[Custodians] were told last year ’10 minutes per room.’ They don’t have time for their regular duties, much less the enhanced cleaning protocol. Aramark won’t change anything. CPS won’t do anything either. I’m afraid I’ll die if we go back during COVID-19.”
Read 10 tweets
19 Aug
Seems like the "CtU nEeDs To WoRk WiTh CpS" narrative is becoming a thing." Y'all are funny. We'd love to have the entire city sit in on these convos and see what it's like to present ideas that work for educators, parents and students and have every one met with "No."
Here's some insight: CPS and the mayor are big on legality. Like, really big on it. They make safety and pedagogical decisions based on legal maneuvers, not best practices.
Their entire remote learning plan, and all of their expectations on what parents, students and educators should experience—in the midst of a pandemic—is basically a legal brief of what they can and cannot do legally. It isn’t based on educator, parent or student voice at all.
Read 5 tweets
19 Aug
Chicago is behind (again). What we see in Los Angeles is a burgeoning partnership between @UTLAnow and their district—a remote learning plan that recognizes that a) we are in a pandemic, and b) the social inequities that existed already have been exacerbated.
It isn't perfect, but it's an agreement.
We don't have that.
Read 12 tweets
27 Jul
In a CPS community meeting with officials, parents, teachers and community members today, one of our members posed the following question in the Q&A:

"Have you prepared statements for when the first student or teacher passes away due to exposure to the virus at school?" #thread
"Know that decisions you make are putting lives at stake. Teachers are NOT comfortable with your plan. Please, it is imperative we are engaged in SOLELY remote learning, not in-person instruction."
"It's easy for you to be socially distant at CPS HQ, but would you implement this same plan if you were going to be in-class with me teaching 9th graders in a school with 3,000 students?"
Read 7 tweets

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