More than 30 aldermen have penned a letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressing their concerns.
Chicago public schools reopened today, Monday, January 4, for the first time since they closed 9 months ago back in March 2020. However, despite the reopening measures, some schools have insisted that it’s not safe within the school buildings and have instead resorted to teaching outside… in under 30-degree temperatures.
A video posted on Twitter this morning shows students at a Logan Square elementary school working at tables laid out around the school grounds as a makeshift sign reads ‘teaching in progress’ and snow covers the surroundings.
Chicago public schools reopened today for the first time in 9 months.
— Mina Bloom (@mina_bloom_) January 4, 2021
The news comes after more than 30 aldermen penned a letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Dr. Janice Jackson yesterday expressing concerns that the plan to reopen Chicago Public Schools “fails to adequately address a number of health and safety concerns identified by parents, students, and staff in light of the ongoing pandemic.”
Janice Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools, then responded to the aldermen with a 9-page letter, claiming that “the unfortunate fact is that despite our best efforts and the heroic work of teachers to make remote instruction effective for CPS students, it is a poor substitute for in-person learning.”
A letter from 30+ aldermen to Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressing concerns about Chicago Public Schools reopening pic.twitter.com/QFTrZTyJIM
— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) January 3, 2021
This showdown between school staff and local governments is not unique to Chicago, it is a problem that countries around the world are facing. With the Christmas holidays coming to an end, and students due back in schools, many teachers unions are declaring that in-person learning is simply not safe as the pandemic shows no immediate sign of desisting.
The first wave of Chicago Public Schools staff is due back in buildings this week, setting up a showdown between the school district and the Chicago Teachers Union over whether it’s safe to resume in-person learning. https://t.co/zTNra32T3k
— WBEZ (@WBEZ) January 4, 2021
Some teachers have come out to express that they feel endangered, disregarded, and “pitted against” their “community.”
I feel pitted against my community, my child’s classmates, and her teachers as well as the rest of the staff and community. None of the choices I’m given are good. I realize that’s just true of pandemic in the US, but @ChiPubSchools could’ve made choices that helped avoid this.
— Heather Kinion (@fire4hairlady) January 4, 2021