CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Teachers Union wants Mayor Lori Lightfoot to back off her push to reopen schools for in-person learning.
One issue is the difficulty of getting a vaccine. Teachers are now eligible for shots, but CTU members say it’s not easy to get one.READ MORE: At Least 15 Shot, 1 Killed In Weekend Violence In Chicago
Alyssa Rodriguez, a social worker at Lozano Bilingual & International Center Elementary School, said some of her colleagues are taking “acts of desperation” to find vaccines or otherwise protect themselves from the virus ahead of next week’s return to classrooms for elementary school students.
“People are staying up until midnight. They are looking to find vaccination sites that they’re driving to, at least 45 minutes away, in order to get a vaccine to make themselves feel safer to be around themselves and their students. People are moving out of their houses. I have staff that have moved out, and they are looking for alternative housing during this time,” she said.
K-8 students are scheduled to come back to the classroom on Feb. 1.
CTU rank-and-file teachers have voted to defy an order from Chicago Public Schools to return to in-person instruction.
In-person learning for pre-K and special education cluster classes will continue. The district says more than 70% of those teachers showed up to school as expected last week.READ MORE: MISSING: Queen Redd, 38, Last Seen In Hyde Park In December
Union leadership insisted teachers want to go back to the classroom, but they also want decisions on who returns and who stays remote made on a case-by-case basis.
Tuesday morning, parents from the Far South Side held a virtual meeting with CPS Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson to talk about plans to return to the classroom. Some parents support going back to school, but others feel it’s too soon.
“Our family has had success with remote learning. We feel that schools are not yet safe. We feel that there’s a third wave of the pandemic approaching,” said Kenyatta Land, the father of a student at Kellogg Elementary School.
“My current eighth grader has truly been stunted with his growth, I do believe,” CPS parent Ashanti Brooks said.
“I truly believe that the plan that we have in place prioritizes the health and safety of our students and our staff. We would not make a decision to return to in-person instruction if we didn’t think we could do so safely,” Jackson said.
With Kindergartners through eighth graders back in class on Monday, a relief agency is partnering with CPS to provide personal protective equipment, or PPE. World Vision handed out the items Tuesday morning to schools with low-income families and the most vulnerable children. The kits include Lysol wipes, hand sanitizers, masks, and social distancing stickers.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Mainly Clear And Not As Cold Sunday Night
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