For day two, a standoff between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union will keep students out of school — both physical and virtual classrooms.
“We have no choice but to cancel classes tomorrow,” CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said at an evening press conference Wednesday, following an afternoon of negotiations between CTU and CPS leadership.
CTU members late Tuesday night voted to teach remotely citing unsafe conditions at schools, in defiance of school administrators, public health officials and the mayor.
Knowing that most teachers would not show up, even with the warning that they would therefore not be paid, the CPS canceled the Wednesday class, and now Thursday too.
The district says CTU is taking illegal action and therefore preventing teachers who have stayed at home from logging into their work emails and classrooms.
“It’s not about us trying to deny or just trying to create a fight over safety procedures. It’s not about that,” Martinez said. “But when you start bullying families, when you start bullying staff, one thing we know is that the safest place for children is in our schools, the best place for them. We know what happened when we went remote last year, and we’re being told “do it for another week, do it for another week” as if the implications for our families weren’t not serious, like it was so easy to transition an entire district of over 330,000 students.
Percy L. Julian High School student Catlyn Savada said what students and teachers face on a daily basis is different from what Martinez witnesses when he walks into a school for a photo shoot.
“People in the community – myself as a student, teachers, staff, families – are like what are you talking about? It’s not implemented properly, security measures are not implemented,” Savada said. “I heard the CEO himself say yesterday that every one of our children wears masks at school. The CEO was at my school on Monday, and I know he hasn’t seen all the high school kids in my school with a mask.
Erin Copland is a school trustee and longtime CTU member, as well as a parent of CPS students, who said the union’s latest industrial action is like Groundhog Day “in the sense that I feel that we are always arguing” and “not working as a team.
But she said things are different because COVID is different, with omicron cases raging.
She said there was not enough PPE at her school and there should be frequent and reliable testing. She voted to go remote so he could have time to take a break and address those issues.
“I felt that was the right strategy…in that we need to make changes,” she said. “And that the vote was just to go remote…we’re not on strike so the teachers don’t want to stop working.” The teachers want to keep working. They just want to work remotely because they think that’s the best option right now until we find a better solution. »
Vanessa Chavez, is also a mom and stepmom to three CPS undergrads. Chavez, she said she was dreading the cancellation of that day of school.
“I was scared it would happen. I’m in health care so I follow the numbers, the COVID numbers, we track them daily,” Chavez said. going around, the attempt to scare families and scare their members by using lies and calling out the real data and public health officials and their advice, the majority of my frustration rests with them.
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