CPS, CTU continue to clash over return to classroom plan

CPS hiring 2,000 workers to supervise students

Diane Pathieu Image
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
CPS, CTU clash over return to classroom plan
CPS students return to the classroom in less than a month and the Chicago Teachers Union is continuing to voice COVID-19 safety concerns.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union are continuing to battle over the district's plan to return to the classroom next month, with teachers voicing COVID-19 concerns.

In a virtual meeting Wednesday morning, CTU officials said schools are still not a safe place for children and teachers during this pandemic.

One of their concerns is air ventilation inside school buildings and how quickly the virus can spread from person to person.

They hired an environmental expert to talk about measures CPS has done and how there is still a long way to go.

"They inspected 20 percent of the classrooms for indoor air quality with no persons present, people are the source of this COVID-19 pollution when we breathe, when we cough," said environmental consultant Sterling Laylock.

The plan right now is to bring back pre-K and cluster program students next month and to hire 2,000 non-union staff to monitor students in schools and classrooms another sticking point for CTU members.

"So this hiring is an admission that they don't really have a workable plan and the reason there is a monitor is because they are telling teachers we have to have something for students to do when we turn back to our computers and teach kids who are still at home," said CTU president Jesse Sharkey.

The Chicago Board of Education is also holding their last monthly virtual meeting of the year- they are discussing the latest on the reopening plan and talking about extending its emergency spending powers through March 31, giving district leaders freedom to continue to pay for products and services dealing with COVID-19 prevention.

Right now, CPS' plan is to bring back pre-K and cluster program students on January 11, and K-8 students will begin their hybrid in-school program on February 1.