Chicago teachers union demands remote reopening, online classes only this fall

Jul 16, 2020 by

Chicago’s teachers union is demanding schools reopen remotely this fall – offering online classes only until the city produces a plan to “guarantee safety” for students and staff as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

“We stand for a safe and equitable reopening of the schools, but today COVID-19 cases are soaring instead of dissipating,” Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement Wednesday. “There is simply no way to guarantee safety for in-school learning during an out-of-control pandemic – and that means we must revert to remote learning until the spread of this virus is contained.”

Chicago Public Schools has said it would not make a decision on in-person learning until closer to the start of the new school year, Fox 32 Chicago reported.

The union, which is accusing the Trump administration of pushing for school reopening to boost the president’s 2020 reelection bid, also issued a 10-page document Thursday detailing its own proposals for safely returning to school buildings.

The introduction accuses “capitalists and the politicians who represent them” of putting “profits over people” before conceding that “remote learning is a poor substitute for in-person learning.”

However, the union goes on to argue that socially distanced in-person learning is also inadequate, especially for elementary students whose natural development involves physical contact and sharing — and that it’s not yet safe enough to reopen the city’s schools.

The union report calls for testing and contact tracing, physical distancing, strong sanitization and hygiene, protections for high-risk students and education employees, and government funding and support to help accomplish those goals.

“The mayor and school executives for both charters and CPS must begin to see parents, students, educators and other stakeholders as partners whose lives are valued,” Stacy Davis Gates, the union’s vice president, said in the statement.

The group is also criticizing Chicago public and charter school executives on issues like social distancing, personal protection equipment and masks, and other health protocols.

In an interview with Fox 32 on Thursday, Sharkey elaborated, calling on school officials to release a plan detailing how they would ensure student and worker safety, sanitization, social distancing, and other health protocols.

“We’d like it to be back in the buildings, obviously. We both miss our students, and in-person learning is a lot more effective, but I think we have to acknowledge the reality right now and plan accordingly,” Sharkey told Fox 32.

Source: Chicago teachers union demands remote reopening, online classes only this fall | Fox News

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