by Zero Hedge
Just hours after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a new ‘cruel and unusual’ mandate requiring all Illinois public school students to wear masks when they return to school later this month, the Chicago Teachers Union has issued a letter addressed to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Public School officials, and members of the school board, warning that:
“new pandemic variants pose immediate threats to the health of all Chicagoans, but especially our unvaccinated student population.”
In the letter, CTU praise the Governor’s new mask mandate, but said its
“school communities need more than masking to ensure safety – especially as we continue to learn about the delta variant.”
CTU specifically listed recommendations for ensuring safety, among which was the maintenance of criteria and health metrics based on the prevalence of COVID “to pause in-person instruction.”
Full Letter below (emphasis ours)
Dear Mayor Lightfoot, Dr. Torres, Mr. Swinney, President del Valle, Board of Education Members and CPS Bargaining Team:
As we prepare for the start of the 2021-2022 school year, it is imperative that we acknowledge the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 virus and the importance of engagement with Chicago Public Schools families and communities. Since presenting our comprehensive proposal to Dr. Torres and the Chicago Board of Education on July 8, 2021, Chicago Teachers Union officers, counsel and rank-andfile educators have held a series of bargaining sessions with senior CPS management and legal representatives. We have made incremental progress, but with less than 30 days until the August 30, 2021, return to classes for our students, we must ensure that all stakeholders in our district are clear on plans and proposals for maximum safety in the upcoming year.
To that end, we are inviting members of the CPS bargaining team, CPS leadership and the Chicago Board of Education to participate in an open bargaining session with Union educators and representatives on August 11, 2021. Chicago public school educators and families have long desired transparency in the negotiation process — well before the COVID-19 pandemic — and our Union believes that an open bargaining session is essential to improving trust between our district and the community it serves. This is especially important as new pandemic variants pose immediate threats to the health of all Chicagoans, but especially our unvaccinated student population.
Parents are concerned, and they deserve assurances that our Union and the CPS team are working in lockstep to ensure safety in hundreds of school buildings across the city. For the past year, our Union has been consistent in our call for layered mitigations to keep educators, students and all families safe.
While we applaud Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his leadership regarding today’s forthcoming statewide mask mandate, which CPS has already adopted, our school communities need more than masking to ensure safety — especially as we continue to learn about the Delta variant.
Also needed are:
- Ventilation upgrades
- A COVID-19 testing plan for vaccinated and unvaccinated members of our school communities
- Maintenance of criteria and health metrics based on COVID prevalence to pause in-person instruction
- Full-time contact tracers, nurses, social workers and counselors in every school building
- A comprehensive home visit program to engage students and families in every school community
Mayor Lightfoot, there is $4 billion in federal funding that you have to invest in our schools and communities — a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide all of our students with the staff and services they deserve. Open bargaining will provide Chicago families insight into how the CPS budget will directly impact their children and schools, where we stand in negotiations today, and the gaps that must be closed before the fall return.
Merely surviving the COVID-19 pandemic is not enough. Chicago Public Schools needs to earn the trust and confidence of families across the city, and by joining our Union team for open bargaining, we can reach that goal together.
Please let us know as soon as possible if you are accepting of this invitation, and we look forward to continued negotiations regarding the safety and long-term success of our students and their families.
So, it’s for the children, eh?
Let’s look at some data!
All of COVID’s key metrics have collapsed dramatically compared to their pre-vaccine peaks. Daily cases are down 80 percent compared to their November 2020 peak. Hospitalizations are down 84 percent. Most importantly, average daily COVID deaths are down to about ten a day, 95 percent lower than their peak in December of last year. Deaths have yet to show any real reaction to the increase in cases due to the Delta variant.
And here’s the cases, hospitalization, and death data for kids (Aged 0-17)
In case your super-zoom eyes are failing. Yes, ‘positive’ tests are higher (according to PCR tests), but there has still not been one death according to the official data of any child in Chicago from COVID and there are de minimus children being hospitalized (an average of less than 1 in the last 3 months).
Having been busted providing the exact wording to CDC for their “guidance” for in-person teaching protocols, is there any reason to trust that CTU has anyone but themselves in mind when they proclaim 1) no mandatory vaccinations for teachers will be permitted, and now 2) in-person instruction is at risk because ‘we must protect the children’.
From the sounds of that letter, it has sweet f**k all to do with childrens’ safety and entirely everything to do with the $4bn that Lightfoot has at her disposal.
As a reminder, Fox news reports that last week, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten got pushback after suggesting that school reopenings this fall are not a done deal.
“So the bottom line is, we’re going to keep kids safe, we’re going to keep our members safe, we’re going to try to open up schools, and we’re going to move through this political battlefield,” Weingarten said.
Critics picked up on her comment about the reopening of schools because it sounded like backpedaling from when she argued in May that “we can and we must reopen schools in the fall.”