Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced on Tuesday that she has examined optimistic for COVID-19, proper after a battle with one of many nation’s largest and strongest lecturers unions over security precautions to curb the virus within the metropolis’s public colleges.
“Earlier in the present day, I examined optimistic for COVID-19. I’m experiencing cold-like signs however in any other case really feel nice which I credit score to being vaccinated and boosted,” Lightfoot tweeted. “I’ll proceed to work at home whereas following the CDC tips for isolation. That is an pressing reminder for people to get vaccinated and boosted because it’s the one approach to beat this pandemic.”
The irony of Lightfoot having testing entry and the power to work remotely was not misplaced on members of the Chicago Lecturers Union, who voted final week to maneuver from in-person to distant studying. The rise of COVID-19 instances in Chicago has led to extreme staffing shortages in colleges, in addition to sick kids and households of each workers and college students.
Final week’s union vote sparked a nasty standoff between the city’s teachers and the mayor, who vehemently opposes distant studying. Previous to the vote, Chicago Public Colleges had refused to implement measures the union had outlined for a safe work environment — reminiscent of opt-out testing (which might make college students robotically eligible for COVID exams in school until mother and father or guardians choose them out), in addition to higher contact tracing and a metric to set off a district-wide shift to distant studying.
After the vote, the college district locked educators out of their distant studying accounts, stopping them from educating kids altogether. Eight Chicago Public Colleges college students who spoke to The TRiiBE stated that whereas distant studying is troublesome, they felt there ought to be no in-person courses so long as CPS refuses to implement correct security precautions.
In 2020, Chicago obtained about $1.2 billion in federal funds from the CARES Act to assist with pandemic reduction. Lightfoot got here below hearth from activists and metropolis council members for using almost 60% of the discretionary funds to cowl time beyond regulation hours for police. The town later obtained virtually $2 billion in federal help as a part of the American Rescue Plan, a few of which community organizers accused the mayor of allocating to pay down city debt as a substitute of serving to residents and colleges. The mayor’s workplace has denied the allegation to the Chicago Solar-Instances.
Lower than 24 hours earlier than saying her optimistic COVID check, Lightfoot introduced that the city had reached a tentative agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union to permit about 340,000 college students to return to in-person courses on Wednesday.
The tentative agreement contains CPS offering KN95 masks for employees and college students to make use of along with the medical-grade masks and different face-covering protecting gear the district will present by means of the tip of the college 12 months. Each faculty would have a contact tracing staff staffed with folks from the college already accustomed to the group.
Nearly all of the union’s elected representatives voted on Monday in favor of suspending their distant work motion to return to high school buildings this week whereas the greater than 25,000 union members vote on whether or not to approve the tentative settlement with town.
The tentative security settlement lacks lots of the key protections lecturers sought, according to WBEZ. Lightfoot strongly opposed an opt-out testing technique, so the union agreed to assist get extra college students to choose in. And the mayor was towards a metric to set off districtwide distant studying,
“Bear in mind, we weren’t preventing to make one thing good somewhat higher. We had zero metric. The CPS CEO introduced he didn’t assume he wanted agreements with our union. The mayor was keen to sacrifice folks’s well being to guard her picture,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said on Tuesday.
“It’s not honest or simply, however we needed to combat this difficult to win even the essential protections that we pressured the mayor to conform to,” Sharkey stated. “And whereas it falls in need of so many issues that we and our college students deserve, she didn’t need to give us any of it.”
“Ultimately, you saved actual lives and guarded actual folks this previous week simply by means of the motion itself,” Sharkey added earlier than citing a spike in COVID exposures within the metropolis’s public colleges final week. “The numbers from final Monday and Tuesday present it.”