Chicago Teachers Union Considers Locking Down Schools Again

Chicago Teachers Union once again considers shutting down in-person education amidst the rise of the COVID Omicron variant.

QUICK FACTS:
  • In a survey issued this week called “Possible Actions for Safety January 2022,” the teachers union asked its 25,000 members if they would support a temporary return to remote classes if cases continue to increase, Fox 32 Chicago reported. 
  • The union is also asking if members would be willing to “participate in a city-wide work stoppage” and in what actions they would participate to demand that Chicago Public Schools enhance their safety measures. 
  • In the survey, the union suggests action steps such as launching an event at school called the “neighborhood car caravan” and outdoor rallies in order to add further pressure on the schools. 
  • Chicago Public Schools appear to be prepared for the union’s actions and has purchased 100,000 laptops in preparation for another lockdown.
BACKGROUND:
  • In January of 2021, the Chicago Teachers Union pleaded with its teachers not to return to classrooms over health and safety measures and threatened to initiate an illegal strike if any teachers were disciplined doing so. 
  • Eventually, the district and the union came to an agreement that allowed children to return to school. 
  • ABC Chicago reported the union, which is the third-largest in the country, is also accusing the district of not doing enough to provide families with COVID tests during winter break. 
  • “We need more tests to be distributed. We need it to be easy for these parents to return these tests,” said the Chicago Teachers Union recording secretary. 
  • This survey comes after a contradicting statement made by Chicago Public Schools chief Pedro Martinez last week, “CPS families should prepare for more remote learning in January as COVID-19 cases surge this winter, but the entire district is unlikely to shut down.”