Chicago Teachers Union raises concerns as COVID cases rise and high schools are set to open
Chicago, IL – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has acknowledged that cases on COVID-19 are on the rise again in Chicago, yet she is sticking to her plan to reopen Chicago high schools in two weeks, without addressing ongoing safety concerns from teachers and from the community.
Mayor Lightfoot has continued to hold off on vaccinating Chicago residents aged 16 and over despite the fact that the state of Illinois has opened up vaccine eligibility to those residents. People in that age group are currently being found to be the most significant cause of spread of the virus. National health experts are calling for states and cities to hold off on opening schools, bars, restaurants and other similar places right now due to the recent uptick in cases as well, as the more contagious UK variant has now been found to be the main variant found in the United States.
The Chicago Teachers Union is demanding that the Chicago Public School system modify schedules for high schools to lessen unnecessary contact and limit the number of people in buildings to minimize COVID spread. The union also says that each Wednesday, high schools should be conducted remotely to provide teachers with additional prep time, which is in desperately short supply, and that teachers and other educators who are in higher risk categories, or have family members who are, should be given access to remote teaching opportunities or else paid leave. In addition, they say that the school system should vaccinate high school students and family members who are high risk, which would be permitted by Illinois current eligibility guidelines.