As the rift between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union widens over the city’s perilous Covid-19 reopening plan, teachers all over the city are finding ways to show their solidarity with the Preschool and Special Needs teachers that have already been called back to in-person learning. They’re also staring down the barrel at returning to schools themselves, as the all-teacher return date of January 25th looms dark on the horizon.
Just this morning, teachers from all over the 60639 zip code came together for a teach-out at Fullerton and Central. They set up tables and laptops to teach a full day of virtual learning in the chilly Chicago weather, masked up and wearing their CTU red. These teachers were mostly middle school teachers, teaching 6th-8th graders.
Although they’ve not had to return to in-person learning in the first-wave of the reopening plan, they will be called back to schools on Monday. The teach-out levelled the dual message of solidarity with their colleagues already back in schools, and the chilling reminder that teaching in below-freezing temperatures would actually be safer than returning to in-person learning.
The Belmont Cragin neighborhood has been hard hit by Covid-19, and 60639 has the highest positivity rate of any zip code in the city. By sending back unvaccinated teachers, and eventually students, CPS is exacerbating the Covid-19 crisis in this already devastated neighborhood. It undercuts the city’s argument that reopening is about equity, as non-white communities have and continue to bear the brunt of positive cases and deaths in the city.
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