Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** CTU prepares for strike vote as IEA teams with American Academy of Pediatrics to review school reopening plans
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*** UPDATED x1 *** CTU prepares for strike vote as IEA teams with American Academy of Pediatrics to review school reopening plans

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2020

* The CTU has been claiming that Mayor Lightfoot wants the union to force the schools to close so she doesn’t have to. Welp…


* In other news…

Today, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) and the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) announced a medical review panel that will determine if school district re-opening plans are safe for students, staff and communities.

The panel, which will consist of more than a dozen doctors, will review district plans that educators fear may not be safe under public health guidelines. The panel will then determine whether the plans meet a list of commonly agreed upon protocols.

“We will be watching to make sure our students’ and educators’ health and safety is being protected. And if the panel finds a district is operating in a way that puts lives at risk, we will do everything in our power to keep people safe,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said.

The partnership came about after the IEA discovered that the State of Illinois had encouraged districts to resume in-person learning and set forth public health guidelines, but did not design a system where districts’ “Return to Learn” plans could be either assessed or enforced.

IEA President Kathi Griffin said the IEA has worked collaboratively with the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health, with all of the education stakeholders in Illinois, but when it became clear there was no method of assessment or enforcement of health and safety measures for the in-person education plans, the union decided to make its own.

“There is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of the students of this state and those who work to teach, feed, lead, drive, coach, mentor and provide essential services to them in our schools,” Griffin said. “We kept asking, ‘OK, so if we don’t think the district’s plan meets the state standards or the AAP’s standards, where do we go?’ No one could answer. So, we turned to our longtime partners at ICAAP.”

ICAAP has enlisted a dozen doctors to review plans and is working to secure more.

“ICAAP is happy to partner with the IEA to provide expert guidance on our shared goal of opening schools safely in Illinois,” said Daniel Johnson, MD, FAAP member of ICAAP Executive Committee and Interim Chief of Section of Pediatric Infectious Disease at University of Chicago.

“Schools are an important safety net for children and we look forward to working to protect the health of students, teachers and staff while working to ensure access to the essential services provided at school.”

If a district’s plan is deemed unsafe by the panel of medical experts from ICAAP, the local will inform the district of the changes that need to be made to ensure all are safe and the environment is healthy. If that isn’t done, the IEA will work with the local to enforce the health and safety guidelines that have been set forth by experts.

“As we promised last week when we announced in partnership with the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), no avenue or action is off the table – the courts, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board – nothing, including health and safety strikes. The entire weight of the IEA and the IFT will be used in whatever way is necessary to protect the students of this state and those who educate them,” Griffin said.

*** UPDATE *** The two-step completes

Chicago Public Schools is expected to announce as soon as Wednesday an all-remote learning plan to start the school year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a move that could avert a potential Chicago Teachers Union strike, sources said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

40 Comments
  1. - pool boy - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:59 pm:

    I know we are a different state and it’s a private school, but Barron Trump’s school won’t be opening in the fall. Our COVID cases are increasing, so maybe we should do the same.


  2. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    “The CTU has been claiming that Mayor Lightfoot wants the union to force the schools to close so she doesn’t have to.”

    If true…yikes. Politically, it could offer her cover with more conservative parts of the city that want schools open (why this is being politicized nationally is another story) because CTU’s popularity is not high around the city. However, this could be overplaying her hand and making it appear that she’s playing politics with the health of teachers and students.


  3. - The end - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    If they don’t get paid will they show up? Grocery store and fast food workers show up why can’t teachers.


  4. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:11 pm:

    Lightoot said she wasn’t going to go forward with in person if conditions didn’t allow it. Schools don’t start for a month. Sharkey and CTU really plan on proactively striking before action occurs after striking less than a year before. Be careful.


  5. - AndyIllini - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    If schools go virtual then we need to lockdown again.


  6. - chichi55 - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:21 pm:

    No work, no pay.


  7. - iggy - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:31 pm:

    when cps did online learning in May 40% of students didn’t bother to login. nailed it.

    when schools are online parents cant go to work.

    when schools are online more women have to drop out of the workforce to stay at home with children.

    I get that CTU is afraid of the virus, we are all. But if you want reverence for your job its time to follow the lead of the 17 year old at Jewel, put on a mask, socially distance, and encourage proper hygiene. there are plenty of front line workers doing this everyday, time to step up.


  8. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    How many of those front line workers have died? How many of the teachers and support staff are in risk categories? How many of those teachers are being asked to work without masks (or with children without masks) How many frontline workers have to work with customers that they can’t throw out of the store?

    I think we are 1. asking teachers to take on too much risk without proper compensations and 2. confusing the proper point of an education system (next generation education) with daycare. I pay school taxes and I do it gladly so that the next generation can be educated. But I don’t do it so that others who have, after all, chosen to be parents, can have careers or calm in their home.


  9. - Jocko - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:42 pm:

    ==time to step up==

    Playground theatrics aside, for those who say it’s no big deal…I’m looking forward to your spokesperson appearance on local/national TV when the Covid cases (and likely deaths) start piling up.


  10. - Central IL Center Right - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:43 pm:

    Is the press release available? Not seeing it on IEA website. Also- after the joint announcement last week with IFT, interesting they’re not included in this partnership


  11. - P-Town Cynic - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:45 pm:

    The End,
    Do grocery workers and fast food workers work in old buildings in close proximity for many hours? Last time I went to the grocery store it took me about 30 minutes, less if you do pick up or delivery. All workers deserve to have safe working conditions. There are some districts that are bucking guidelines and returning to class with no masks and no distancing. Are you working in that environment?

    To the post: Glad to see IEA having some sort of clearinghouse for plans. With over 800 school districts, some safety vetting has to be done. Many schools asked for local control in the spring, they are receiving it now and in some instances, not following their end of the bargain. Glad to see unions protect worker and worker safety.


  12. - Teacher Lady - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:46 pm:

    From June 26, 2020:

    United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW) said at least 82 grocery store workers have died from COVID-19 and 11,507 have been infected or exposed to the virus in the first 100 days of the outbreak.

    Grocery store workers are getting sick and dying, and they are not in as confined quarters as teachers will be.

    Saying that school should open because parents need to be able to go to work gives away the game: School is being used as daycare for the kids. They’re not worried about kids and their needs; they want workers back to work for the sake of the economy.
    So, just fess up that there’s a willingness to sacrifice kids and teachers on the altar of the almighty dollar.
    These are the people who claim to be “pro-life”


  13. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:46 pm:

    ===Is the press release available?===

    The entire release is posted here.


  14. - Louis G Atsaves - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    So the Illinois Educational Association and Illinois Chapter of The Academy of Pediatrics will form a Medical Review Panel that the unions will use to determine if School Re-openings are safe?

    Local school boards no longer matter in this debate. Did they even get to agree on this procedure? Existing school contract provisions no longer matter in this debate.

    The ultimate authority for reopening or not reopening or partial reopening will be vested in this Medical Review Panel?

    And if school boards disagree . . .

    This ought to get real interesting.


  15. - Nagidam - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:50 pm:

    Why do teachers get a special deal on back to work rules different from every other essential worker? Someone here tell me why the rules require quarantining 14 days if exposed to someone If you are in the school environment but if you are any other essential worker from grocery store Clerk’s to healthcare workers you don’t have those guidelines.


  16. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    “there are plenty of front line workers doing this everyday, time to step up.”

    false equivalency. Shoppers aren’t in store for 7 - 8 hours a day 5 days a week. We know this virus moves through poorly ventilated buildings. I would imagine this is the case in a lot of schools.

    Every reasonable effort should be put in place to try and have kids return to school. Reasonable efforts might come up short against the virus especially with the lack of help from the feds.


  17. - Daily - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:00 pm:

    * Covid cases (and likely deaths) start piling up. *

    Not likely. Its a fact that the latest wave of cases aren’t as sick. Even with the increase of cases in Sangamon County, we had one person on a vent earlier this week, and none yesterday - in a 500 bed hospital.


  18. - SouthSideGT - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:14 pm:

    To the anti-teacher posters equating teachers with grocery store workers I can only say that a cantaloupe is not going to be running around and sneezing on the grocery store worker and the other cantaloupes. As for equating teachers and health care frontline staff I can only say you might have a ratio of three or so well protected healthcare workers attending to the needs of a patient but in teaching you have one teacher attending to maybe thirty or more students who may or not be symptomatic who are moving about who are not careful about their hygiene who may come from a household that is not careful. Sheesh. We have already made an experiment of schools and the criminally easy availability of guns. Let’s not experiment with the coronavirus as well.


  19. - A - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:33 pm:

    30 or more students? In junior highs that’s 30 or so every period. To the tune of 150 plus/day. No windows to open to ventilate.

    My suggestion is that those who feel strongly about in class instruction should volunteer to help out in classrooms for full days at least twice per week. If asked, I’m sure those folks would find some excuse not to do so. But others should

    Also no teacher got paid to do nothing. If you think online prep of instruction is doing nothing then everyone who’s online working remotely is also doing nothing. Not teachers fault if kids don’t log on. Or are they supposed to go to each child’s house to personally ask them politely to do so?


  20. - former southerner - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:45 pm:

    To the teachers, thank you for continuing to do your job under online, hybrid, and all of the other curves that COVID has thrown society. And as to trying to educate and enlighten some of the commenters, their ship sailed without them decades ago…


  21. - Morty - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:51 pm:

    ‘If that isn’t done, the IEA will work with the local to enforce the health and safety guidelines that have been set forth by experts.’

    No teeth in that at all.


  22. - Morty - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:53 pm:

    chichi55 The end

    Riiiiggghhhtttt…


  23. - Morty - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 5:01 pm:

    ‘The ultimate authority for reopening or not reopening or partial reopening will be vested in this Medical Review Panel?’

    Absurd question


  24. - View from the Cheap Seats - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 5:17 pm:

    Just to clarify, we can hold a press conference, rally and protest with not adhering to the 6ft. social distance guideline — but teaching kids in a classroom is more of a danger.


  25. - Pundent - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 5:19 pm:

    =The ultimate authority for reopening or not reopening or partial reopening will be vested in this Medical Review Panel?=

    Not quite. It sounds like they me be the ultimate authority for teachers to decide if they want to return. But schools can still reopen. They just need to find subs. Would you like to put your name on the sign-up sheet counselor?


  26. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 5:20 pm:

    Everyone needs to calm down.

    If students and staff wear masks (and yes students will but we may have to remind them and we may have to send a few home) and we follow sanitation protocols schools will
    not be a major source of COVID spread. Because we know masks reduce the risk dramatically.

    It seems the IEA has decided to leave out Boards and Administration, if we did that to them they would be pretty mad. We included 1/3 of our teachers In our planning along with our nurse, head custodian, and bus drivers.


  27. - DownstateR - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 5:41 pm:

    How about some nice palate-cleansing humor (not even remotely safe for work) from across the pond: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZQkBHysrig


  28. - Back to school - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 5:50 pm:

    I think its offensive for teachers to suggest that school district plans that in most cases they have collaborated in making are patently unsafe. No board of ed is going to willingly put kids in danger and will take all necessary steps to return to school safely. It is typical union baloney with a little “never let a crisis go to waste thrown in”.


  29. - JB13 - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 5:59 pm:

    Teachers unions always like to tell us society would break down in minutes without them.

    Looks like we’re about to find out, eh?


  30. - A - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 6:01 pm:

    Just so no one is allowed to sue if they become sick. They’re basically suing you the taxpayer you know.


  31. - Jim Bob - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 6:03 pm:

    To A @ 4:33 PM

    I can only speak for my own experience. After schools shut down in March, our child’s elementary school teacher conducted one 30-minute Zoom class session per week. The children were given tons of worksheets (from a third-party source) that we had to print at home, then upload the results to a website that the teacher was ostensibly reviewing. The school told us about lots of third-party learning apps that our child could use on her own (some were good, some were not). And… that was about it.


  32. - Sunny - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 6:52 pm:

    Child care teachers have been, are currently and will continue to provide care for young and school aged children during the pandemic under guidelines that are very similar to what CPS was proposing. So it’s ok for them to take the risk but not public school teachers who makes more than twice as much?


  33. - Anon - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 8:14 pm:

    Jim Bob same experience and the choice this year for the online is a joke . 1 day of 5 hours of instruction the next day online assignments some question answers session then teachers get administrative time off and the kid get get a day for self learning. That isn’t teaching and its unfair to the parents and students. I understand not teaching in person but online needs to be done correctly 5 days a week and one or two afternoon for teachers to prepare. Otherwise it’s a part time job not teaching.


  34. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 8:38 pm:

    ‘I think its offensive for teachers to suggest that school district plans that in most cases they have collaborated in making are patently unsafe.’

    So very very very wrong.


  35. - Morty - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 8:41 pm:

    ‘I understand not teaching in person but online needs to be done correctly 5 days a week and one or two afternoon for teachers to prepare. Otherwise it’s a part time job not teaching.’

    I thought the state was mandating 5 hours a day if doing remote learning according to the re-opening guidelines.


  36. - Morty - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 8:46 pm:

    8:38 was me, btw


  37. - Frank talks - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 9:45 pm:

    Shouldn’t ISBE have done this not IEA?


  38. - Not a Billionaire - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 9:50 pm:

    Well Monmouth was going to be hybrid then it went all online….after the Superintendent got it….In Iowa the Gov became really unhinged when some school districts found a law that says they have the authority to decide openings in emergencies


  39. - Morty - Wednesday, Aug 5, 20 @ 12:17 am:

    ‘Shouldn’t ISBE have done this not IEA?’

    You’d think, but ISBE really doesn’t do much of anything.


  40. - Anon - Wednesday, Aug 5, 20 @ 6:01 am:

    5 hrs a day as expressed by CPS, the word mostly and definition is the issue. Learning with constant video and self learning is not teaching. We need more assurances that self learning isn’t most of the program as that is not 5 hours of teaching that is hours of parents juggling work and trachering. Parents should be given the details not the mostly and self learning that’s right up there with the empowerment of the shoppers to bag your own grocery.

    During full-time remote learning, students will participate in five hours of learning that consists mostly of live instruction with their teachers and classmates supplemented by digital curriculum resources, and independent work. Students will access assignments through Google Classroom as part of a wider transition to Google platforms. Additional details on new learning expectations and improvements will be provided in  the final reopening framework.


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