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Friday, January 21, 2022

No school on Friday as CPS, CTU confused on reopening

Another day came and no agreement was reached between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union, with classes again canceled on Friday for the vast majority of students, although a handful of schools are expected to offer at least some activities. Was.

The union’s disagreement with the school system over COVID-19 protocols amid a wave of Omicron version of the city meant that most CPS students would not have classes either in-class or online for the third day in a row as the two sides settled their differences. Huh.

“The deal session started in the afternoon today and went on till evening. The sessions were productive from our perspective,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said in a statement.

President Joe Biden said this week that he believes schools should remain open during the Omicron wave, and an administration source said Biden’s education secretary, Miguel Cardona, had met Martinez and CTU’s parent union president Randy Weingarten, in which he underscored the importance of “in-person learning.”

Cardona offered technical assistance to the Department of Education to “implement mitigation strategies to get children back to school individually” and told them “we all need to keep children in classrooms while protecting the safety of teachers, educators and students.” must work together towards the goal of bringing back into the communities.”

Meanwhile, headmasters across the city sent a message on Thursday to their families asking if their students would have limited opportunities to attend school on Friday, depending on how many teachers were asked to work individually by the union. was expected to ignore the refusal and show its buildings.

The district told families, “You should not plan to send your child to school unless your child’s principal tells you that the student may come to school for individual activities,” noting that “only a few It will happen in schools.” ,

According to district officials, one in every eight CPS teachers (12.8% of the district’s 21,600) went to their schools on Thursday. Some schools saw higher rates than others, such as Mount Greenwood, a Far Southside neighborhood in the city’s only Republican ward, where the elementary school said more than 90% of its staff showed up this week.

Teachers who are following the union’s labor action, which only calls for remote work, an option not currently allowed by the CPS, have been taken out of their email and other work accounts. Only those who report personally have access and can communicate with parents.

The district asked the headmasters to submit their plans for Friday by midnight of Thursday. Those who were expected to report to school between 20% and 60% of their staff could hold “academic enrichment” such as computer lab activities, sports, games, arts, tutoring or writing exercises, but no new lessons, There was no grade or recorded attendance. A memo a principal shared with the Sun-Times. Principals expecting 69% or more teachers to appear can hold regular classes and register attendance.

One official wrote in a memo to principals at a Northwest Side network that they “should be transparent with the support you can give to parents, not promises when you’re under staff.”

In a video message posted online, Morgan Park High School principal Femi Skanes told families that Far South Side School would not hold distance classes on Fridays, but would hold students from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to keep students up until the end of the year. Will distribute laptops.

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“For some of our students who have to get stuck on some missed assignments or some skills in class, you’ll have to have a Chromebook so you can continue to do so,” she said. The tools can also be used for needs such as PSAT or SAT practice, or for college and financial aid applications.

Thorpe primary administrators told their families that 33 staff members, including watchmen, lunch attendants and bus aides, would supervise the children. The school was prioritizing students and children with special education whose parents cannot work remotely for in-person attendance on Fridays.

But after 18 confirmed cases this week, Principal Efrain Toledo wrote in an email to the school community that any student who wants to attend school on Friday must register for the district’s COVID-19 testing program. Any CPS parent can register their child for school testing at colors.com/readycheckgo-cps. The program is for asymptomatic people – people who have symptoms were asked to get tested at a pharmacy, clinic or other medical site.

“It’s something that’s going to be a little different,” Toledo told the families during an online webinar. “If they are coming back, they have to register. It’s very important that we have a solid testing protocol in place.” Half of Thorpe’s students were signed up by now.

After meeting principals throughout the day, Chicago Principals and Administrators Association President Troy LaRovier issued a statement with input from school leaders, criticizing plans for different schools to offer different levels of support to their students. was done.

“This is a district-wide crisis and we need a district-wide strategy. It should not be an ad-hoc reactionary response that creates inequality that is projected between the social and economic line,” the statement said.

Martinez said at a news conference on Wednesday that he heard from principals who wanted to offer programming to their students if they had enough staff.

More principals said they were receiving reports of positive virus tests administered earlier in the week, showing more infections in their schools than before the winter break. Confirmed virus cases this week reached a record high in line with a city-wide surge. Infections remained a small fraction of the district’s 272,000 students and 40,000 staff in non-charter schools, although many have had trouble accessing tests.

According to CPS records, 433 positive cases among students and 280 among adults were reported on Tuesday, more than double the previous high this school year, which came just before the winter break. Student cases dropped to 136 Wednesdays on the first day of canceled classes, while adult infections stood at 208.

CTU has urged students and staff to show negative test results before returning to classes and called for testing capacity to be ramped up. The two sides are also discussing the extent of teacher and student absenteeism that would lead to the closure of an individual school for a few days.

Contribution: Lynn Sweet

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