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.
We need a way to have our mouths visible so we can provide adequate articulation therapy to our students with speech sound errors.
It is developmentally inappropriate to separate children to maintain distance, and physically impossible to keep surfaces and materials from being contaminated or from students infecting each other.
Students need supervision to ensure proper hand washing every single time they wash their hands. Experiences with other illnesses spreading in these classrooms indicates that if a child comes in with COVID-19, it will spread.
Little people DO want to hug, and they DO need a teacher’s touch. But we're in the middle of the COVID pandemic and guidelines say we must keep our distance. I’d rather send them videos of me acting hugs than telling them repeatedly not to touch me...that can be traumatizing.
Keeping preschoolers socially distant from one another will negatively impact students educationally, socially and emotionally. Right now, they are at home with parents and other family members who love, nurture and care for them.
What are we to do if a child takes the mask off and throws a tantrum, refusing to wear it?
Pre-school should follow an early intervention model and create individual family service plans for students that are implemented through home visits and work with caregivers.
No in-person pre-school classes where everything is “don’t”; CPS should provide families with the same kits with the same materials, and teachers can create lessons using those materials (i.e. markers, crayons, pattern blocks, paper, unifix cubes, collage materials, paint, glue).
It's not possible to stay six feet apart when providing hand-over-hand supports
Psych assessment requires close contact. We need plexiglass dividers.
We need more counselors to provide trauma support to ALL students in this time.
Special education teachers need assistance in making sure their non-verbal students don't have any symptoms.
IEP meetings cannot be held in with people crammed into a conference room; we should not be sharing pens and passing around sheets to be signed; parents must wear masks and gloves; these meetings MUST be held virtually or in a classroom with distancing.
Need PPE for teachers working in therapy situations or with students who do not comprehend social distancing.
Keeping students with autism or cognitive disabilities six-feet apart will be a problem.
Special education at times requires hand over hand, or a teacher setting up a student's work area. None of that can be done safely, even with proper PPE.
Teachers providing push in and pull out services increase interactions between different sets of students and increase their own exposure.
There are SPED classrooms which were inappropriate even before COVID, and especially now—tiny and windowless rooms with asthmatic students and students with weakened immune systems.
SPED resource teachers are in and out of multiple classrooms, potentially cross-contaminating environments.
These are just some of the concerns. There are dozens, if not hundreds more, and educators deserve to have their voices heard. The backlash is swift and severe because CPS and the mayor continually shut those voices out of their planning. But the cries will only grow louder.
At the end of the day, this isn’t a popularity contest. This is about a virus that has killed nearly a quarter of a million people in the U.S. (including some of our own members) and the health and well-being of every educator and every student and family member they serve.

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More from @CTULocal1

15 Oct
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.
Read 10 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. ctulocal1.org/posts/educator…
“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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