CHICAGO (CBS) — COVID concerns are front and center as the countdown begins to the first day of classes for Chicago Public Schools on Monday.
There are new safety rules will greet returning students. But according to some, the new rules are not enough.READ MORE: Two Years Ago Today: First Confirmed Case Of COVID-19 Reported In Illinois
CBS 2’s Meredith Barack reports critics said the district is moving in the wrong direction.
CTU President Jesse Sharkey made those concerns known during a Board of Education meeting, where he said he is sounding an alarm.
“There are serious problems with CPS’ plan the way it sits right now,” according to Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey.
The plan outlines the health protocols that will be taking place, like universal masking, social distancing and HEPA air purifiers in every classroom.
But the district will also no longer require a daily COVID screener, where parents would fill out a form assuring their children aren’t sick with COVID. Temperatures also won’t be taken at the door this school year.
During the Chicago Board of Education meeting Wednesday morning, Sharkey said he believes these plans were put into place before there was a widespread awareness about how dangerous the Delta variant is.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Flight Cancellations, Delays As First Alert Forecast Calls For 1-3 Inches Of Snow
In a video posted to Facebook Tuesday night, Sharkey touched on his concerns about social distancing inside the schools.
“Last year we had six feet, this year they’re refusing to even say they’ll enforce three feet,” he said.
Sharkey added class sizes need to be smaller. And classes like art, music and physical education should be rotated quarterly so teachers aren’t interacting with the entire student body every week.
He pointed to what’s currently happening in Los Angeles, where nearly 1,900 students and staff tested positive in the last week.
“If that happens in Chicago, we’ll have literally thousands of classes that will be fully remote,” Sharkey said.
Interim CEO of CPS, Jose Torres, responded to the concerns by reassuring that the district is focused on safety and health.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Snow Causing Dangerous Driving Conditions; First Alert Forecast Calls For Up To 3 Inches
“I’ve got on the record, that if the metrics are at such a point where CDPH tells us that it’s unsafe for us to be physically together, that I will be the first to go to the governor and to the state superintendent to request what will happen is that the governor will have to create a declared state of emergency to allow for remote instruction,” Torres said.