CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago teachers are making it clear they want to start the school year on time but not on campus.
The Chicago Teachers Union wants to start with remote learning and as much “heads up” as Chicago Public Schools can spare as time so teachers can prepare to make working remotely work smoothly.
The health and education balancing act has never been trickier.
“I don’t think that our kids should go back yet,” said CPS parent Jasmine Williams. “I feel like we should wait a little bit.”
Williams has five children. Remote learning will make the fall trickier at home, but healthier in the long run, she says.
“Quite frankly we can’t take our kids’ lives at risk to do try trial and error,” said Myrna Salgado Roman, who works at Namaste Charter School.
COVID-19 protocols for summer school, when four out of five seats sit empty, threw a massive wrench in the daily routine.
“It takes us 30 minutes to an hour to screen our kids in the morning,” she said. “And we’re not medical professionals. We’re educators.”
“Betsy Devos and Donald Trump calling any shot in July of 2020 and people listen to them, they need to have their heads checked,” said Stacy Davis Gates with CTU.
The teachers union Thursday touched on the risks for students and the options for teachers.
“No one can require our members to report to work in person to work if CPS fails to provide them a safe work environment,” said CTU member Robert Bloch.
Joseph Williams said ultimately his values will outweigh that of district leadership.
“I would not send my children back even if they said they can go back,” said the CPS father.
Playground runs may replace gym class in the fall. But right now teachers eager to lesson plan say an early decision from bosses will prevent those hiccups felt last spring.
“We were not set up for success with remote learning. When you set teachers up for success and when you give them a chance to plan in advance they will make it happen and they will make it successful,” said Salgado Roman.
One teacher told CTU leaders they find it hard to believe in-school learning is even on the table. In her words if one child dies because of COVID-19 caught at school, that will be something the CPS will never shake.
CPS told CTU they should expect to have some fall guidance this week.