Chicago Teachers Union calls on CPS to improve COVID-19 safety protocols

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU say COVID-19 safety protocols in place now for Chicago Public Schools students and staff are not good enough.

The unions held a press conference Thursday morning calling for more.

"Like proper PPE's and supplies for special education assistance. We need new bus cleaning protocols and cleaning and disinfecting standards. It means providing leave to get tested when exposure occurs," Diane Palmer, president of SEIU Local 73.

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Teachers claim they still feel like schools and classrooms are unsafe and can be easily be improved.

"Many classrooms are poorly ventilated and have had no air conditioning for years," said CPS teacher Kevin Triplet. "Unvaccinated, medically vulnerable students are jammed into overcrowded classrooms. Teachers regularly clean rodent feces out of their classrooms. CTU has been bargaining for months with the mayor's team to try to bring thousands of students back to full-time learning safely."

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Parents ABC7 talked to said they support the teachers and agree with their uncertainty, but also struggle with wanting their children to get a good education.

"At the end of the day, the kids do need school and they do learn better at school, but then I also do get how the remote learning is more safe," said CPS parent Tia Lewis.

"I really don't want my baby in school but as a parent, I have to do what I have to do because I work, so as she long keeps her mask on her face, we're hoping and praying she keeps the mask on her face all day, so we go with the flow," said CPS parent Denette Russell.

In this first week, CPS said 39 students and staff members have confirmed COVID-19 cases and 148 people are in quarantine. CTU and SEIU return to the bargaining table with CPS Thursday afternoon.
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