Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Lightfoot says school covid testing opt-out is “morally repugnant,” but several districts and two city charters do it (updated several times)
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Lightfoot says school covid testing opt-out is “morally repugnant,” but several districts and two city charters do it (updated several times)

Friday, Jan 7, 2022

* Tribune

CTU’s proposal submitted last week called for a negative test result to return to buildings and an expansion of the in-school weekly testing program that’s mandatory for unvaccinated staff members and voluntary for students. About 33,000 tests were administered the last week of school before winter break, with district officials promising for months that capacity would reach 40,000 weekly tests. CPS CEO Pedro Martinez expressed frustration again Wednesday that the testing program has not grown faster.

Lightfoot said Wednesday that the CTU wants the program mandatory for all, unless parents opt out, a plan she opposes because it’s “morally repugnant” to take the decision out of parents’ hands. COVID testing, she said, is a “quasi-medical procedure.”

As of late last month, 41,690 students and 24,933 staff members were registered for the testing program, according to the district. CPS officials said some students may have registered before getting vaccinated in the fall and decided later not to show up for weekly testing.

Morally repugnant? That’s odd.

CPS administers nasal swab tests. I do not know why they don’t use the SHIELD test from the U of I. All you do with those tests is spit into a test tube, which makes them less than the “quasi-medical procedure” swab (although that’s silly as well and the General Assembly acted on this very point last year by exempting testing from the Right of Conscience Act, so her legal argument doesn’t hold up, either). They’ve been made available by the state to all school districts.

* Illinois Families for Public Schools did some research on opt-out testing and found this

Despite Mayor Lightfoot’s claims that an opt out procedure would be a legal nightmare, we did some research over the past couple of days and found 34 districts in IL doing notification plus opt-out testing along with at least two CPS charters, CICS Ellison and Horizon Science Academy Belmont. These districts include:

    Barrington 220, Bethalto 8, CICS Ellison 299, Crystal Lake/Round Lake CCSD 46, Des Plaines CCSD 62, Evanston 65, Evanston 202, Fenton 100, Flossmoor 161, Georgetown-Ridge Farm CUSD 4, Glenbrook HS 225, Homewood 153, Horizon Science Academy Belmont 299, Huntley 158, Joliet Township 204, Kirby 140, Macomb 185, Naperville 203, New Trier 203, Northbrook 28, Northbrook Glenview 30, Oak Lawn HS 229, Oak Park 97, River Ridge CSD 210, River Trails 26, Riverside 96, Skokie/Morton Grove 69, Speed SEJA 802, Streator 44, Streator Township 40, Thornton 205, West Chicago 33, West Northfield 31, Will Co 92, Woodland 50.

The full list, with supporting links, is here.

…Adding… Mark asked the bishops this very question at a Statehouse press conference…


…Adding… With a hat tip to a commenter, “Dr. Robert Murphy is a professor of infectious disease at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and is the executive director for the Institute of Global Health” and was asked this morning on WGN whether he thought “Chicago public schools are safe enough to open and have in person learning”

It is not safe to open the schools. I’m sorry. It’s very bad to do home learning. I mean, that doesn’t work as good, everybody knows that. But look at what’s happening. They can’t even keep the schools open. They didn’t have enough employees to work to keep the schools open.

If that’s the case then we need federal intervention right freaking now. What’s a single mom going to do if she has to leave her job to take care of her kids? If she’s fired for non-attendance or quits, she won’t be receiving any extra unemployment assistance. And there’s no longer an eviction moratorium to protect her and her family.

Most school districts are trying to do what’s right and taking a targeted approach rather than shutting down entirely. Then again, most school districts are run better than CPS and have unionized workforces who are more interested in collaboration than CTU.

In my own opinion, Mayor Lightfoot should back away from this fight, which she and the CTU have obviously personalized, and hand the keys to the district’s CEO and board chair. Maybe they can do what she obviously cannot.

…Adding… Bloomberg

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has asked the Biden administration for Covid-19 tests to help resolve the latest dispute between Chicago Public Schools and its teachers union, a disagreement that’s led to the cancellation of classes for three straight days.

“I spoke in the last couple of days with the White House to ask them for help for Chicago Public Schools,” Pritzker said in an interview Thursday. “There is a challenge all over the nation in need of testing but I think there is an urgent need in Chicago because we want to get those kids back in school.” […]

“Parents are suffering, children are suffering when they can’t get back in school and I understand teachers need to be safe in school as kids are,” he said. “The parties need to come together and find common middle ground and I have not yet seen that but I am hopeful.”

…Adding… Sun-Times

As the Omicron variant shatters Illinois COVID-19 case and hospitalization records, suburban doctors say they’re seeing more children come down with severe coronavirus cases than ever before.

Advocate Children’s Hospital locations in Park Ridge and Oak Lawn have had up to 38 kids admitted with the virus this week, a figure that has tripled over the past month, Advocate Aurora Health leaders said Thursday.

About a quarter of the infected youngsters have required intensive care, according to the hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. Frank Belmonte. It’s the most children the network has treated for COVID since the pandemic hit, and Omicron is presenting a new set of challenges.

…Adding… This number shows the opposite of what I think the Sun-Times was trying to say. It’s a pitifully small number when you consider there are well over 300K kids in CPS

An online petition that seeks a return to in-person learning criticizes the union’s latest labor action as “a step in the wrong direction that defies the opinions of public health leaders and puts our kids’ safety and health back at risk.” By Thursday night, it had received more than 2,100 signatures.

Yawn.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

89 Comments »
  1. - Homebody - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 8:52 am:

    ==Lightfoot said Wednesday that the CTU wants the program mandatory for all, unless parents opt out, a plan she opposes because it’s “morally repugnant” to take the decision out of parents’ hands.==

    How is giving the option to opt out taking a decision out of parents’ hands?

    Nothing Lori has done since taking office had made sense in terms of messaging. She has been unnecessarily combative at all the weirdest times.


  2. - Emanuel Collective - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 8:53 am:

    Wait until the Mayor learns about school nurses doing “quasi-medical procedures” on students, such as taking their temperature and checking for lice


  3. - Roadrager - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 8:53 am:

    It’s hard to fathom a worse combination in leadership than thin skin and a thick head, yet everywhere I look, it seems to be gaining in popularity.


  4. - Bruce( no not him) - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 8:58 am:

    === unless parents opt out, a plan she opposes because it’s “morally repugnant” to take the decision out of parents’ hands.===
    Is she implying that most parents aren’t smart enough to opt out if they choose?


  5. - Suburban Mom - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 8:59 am:

    We’re in one of those opt-out testing districts, the whole process was plain and simple, they remind us at least every other week of how to opt out (or back in) in district newsletters. When it started we had a brief discussion with our kids about the testing, how it would work, and what opting out means. They had already heard about how the testing worked, thought it was no big deal, and did not want to opt out. (We probably would not have let them opt out, but we try to have the kids meaningfully participate in their own medical decision making, in a structured way.)


  6. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 8:59 am:

    =All you do with those tests is spit into a test tube,=

    I have commented on the use of SHIELD for CPS before and believe it is the best option for them with no close 2nd.

    It is, however, more than just “spitting” into a cup. There are guidelines on how recently you can eat or drink beforehand and you actually drool into a collection funnel. It takes a little time (5-15 minutes) but, again, is doable, free, and easily their best option.


  7. - Big Jer - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 8:59 am:

    Also, Lightfoot’s daughter goes to a private Catholic School that is currently in remote learning. As always the rules for the elites are different than the masses.

    I know it’s early but the comment of the day goes to Roadrager. Roadrager - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 8:53 am:


  8. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:01 am:

    ===It takes a little time (5-15 minutes)===

    I’ve taken that test several times. You’d have to have a rare case of cotton mouth to spend 15 minutes on it.


  9. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:02 am:

    I’m so glad you posted this, Rich. When I heard Lori say that it was opt-in, with only about 12% of students doing so, I was floored. That coupled with the district not going with the saliva-based Shield test which provided results in no more than 24 hours, while the nasal swab Color test requires the presence of Color Medical Personnel on site takes 24-48 hours, is beyond me. Opt-in? Morally Repugnant? How about exposing other people’s children to Covid? That’s morally repugnant to me.

    It’s clear that this is the sticking point with CTU, whose concerns seem more and more justified as the media prys into this CPS fiasco. Lori’s way, or the highway…again? Wow. What a leader.

    Also, Dr Robert Murphy on WGN this morning says that it’s not safe in schools now. He’s just an Infectious Disease expert at Northwestern University, so what does he know?:

    https://tinyurl.com/2p85xcr6


  10. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:08 am:

    Meanwhile, Covid hospitalizations of children in Chicago has increased 10-fold.

    https://tinyurl.com/2p96mukx


  11. - Suburban Mom - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:10 am:

    The “a little time (5-15 minutes)” may refer to the whole process of corraling classrooms for testing, giving kids instructions, passing out materials, etc. Most schools in our area are taking students class by class to the gym or cafeteria to do the testing with the nurse and a couple of staff members supervising and handling it. What I’ve heard is that the older kids are pretty quick, but the kindergartners and first graders take a while, because they have to be reminded every week of the specific instructions, and the drooling can be hard for small people. The fourth and fifth graders have competitions to see who can save up the most drool and go the longest without swallowing before the test.

    It definitely does cause a minor disruption in school day, but no worse than a fire drill. Amount of student and staff time that testing takes at a school does add up to a significant number, so it does matter if the whole process can be done in 15 minutes or if it’s going to take you 2 hours to get through classroom.


  12. - Banish Misfortune - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:10 am:

    How long has Lori been mayor- it must be about 20 years, right?


  13. - Montrose - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:10 am:

    Does CTU want opt-out? If so, I think it’s pretty clear why Lightfoot would decide it is “morally repugnant”.


  14. - Nazgul - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:12 am:

    It is morally bankrupt to require kids to test without their parents consent. If a school ever tested my son without my permission, you bet I would be in inside the principles’ office, intimidating him or her.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:13 am:

    In a nutshell;

    Lightfoot is making the idea of the virus, testing, compromise, and science… the enemy… and combative to it all through the anger and “disgust” for CTU.

    The dishonest way Lightfoot wants to frame her thoughts to be combative is her schtick, covid or not.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:14 am:

    ===It is morally bankrupt to require kids to test without their parents consent.===

    Would you voluntarily test your child if required to attend?

    Why or why not?


  17. - SWIL_Voter - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:16 am:

    == If a school ever tested my son without my permission, you bet I would be in inside the principles’ office, intimidating him or her.==

    If your refusal to test led to your kid giving mine a disease, I’d be on your doorstep intimidating you


  18. - Pundent - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:19 am:

    Mayor Lightfoot underscores why we can’t put this behind us. Our leaders, through their words and actions, continue to fail us.


  19. - Ramona - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:22 am:

    Although SHIELD testing has been available to all districts, there are numerous staffing and supply issues. In many cases, principals and other school staff are administering the testing, especially if they don’t have nurses or nurses are dealing with sick kids and their usual duties.


  20. - From DaZoo - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:22 am:

    ===You’d have to have a rare case of cotton mouth to spend 15 minutes on it.===

    A niece has mentioned that she has to remember to drink enough water earlier in the day so she’s not too dry when it comes time for her to “spit-in-the-cup”. Although I imagine waiting to drool for a test for a pre-teen for more than a minute probably feels like hours.


  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:26 am:

    ===require kids to test without their parents consent===

    Hey, dummy. Literally nobody is doing that. Parents can opt their kids out.

    Go take a nap.


  22. - walker - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:27 am:

    “”you bet I would be in inside the principles’ office, intimidating him or her.”"

    How collaborative and mature.

    Remember the proposal is that the school would have asked you multiple times and on a regular basis, whether you wanted to opt out of testing on behalf of your child, and would follow your choice.


  23. - Anon221 - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:29 am:

    “morally repugnant”??? CPS already has an online revocation option according to their FAQs (https://www.cps.edu/services-and-supports/covid-19-resources/covid-19-testing/covid-testing-faq/ ). “Email readycheckgo@color.com with subject line ‘Testing Opt Out’ and the information below.”

    But that line of “morally repugnant” got me Googling. From November 2020, here’s another take on being “morally repugnant”- “Claiming that people need to mind their own business when it comes to refusing SARS-CoV-2 testing is ‘morally repugnant,’ Caplan said. ‘Of course it’s other people’s business. You’re testing not just for yourself, but for your grandmother, and your elderly neighbor, and your immune-compromised kids.’” https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2772860


  24. - efficiency - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:33 am:

    It’s not easy as easy for kids to do the saliva test as it is for adults.


  25. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:34 am:

    ===All you do with those tests is spit into a test tube===

    I spit in the tube (many times) the first time I took one of these and it got rejected for being too viscous. You have to drool, and it takes a little time


  26. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:35 am:

    ===Remember the proposal is that the school would have asked you multiple times and on a regular basis, whether you wanted to opt out of testing on behalf of your child, and would follow your choice.===

    It’s been apparent from the beginning of Covid, those unwilling to find where safety can meet necessity, they immediately go into this “fight” mode, an anger, “combative”, and we are now witnessing Lightfoot too channeling all her less than stellar mayoral qualities into this, but it’s about, for Lightfoot, the battler and need to “win” not find that… safety meeting necessity… especially with the enemy… CTU.

    And to be fair, as I’ve stated the entire time, there are no winners, that includes CTU.


  27. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:39 am:

    ===-== If a school ever tested my son without my permission, you bet I would be in inside the principles’ office, intimidating him or her.=====

    And how would you do this intimidation? With a gun? Some other weapon? Or just your big burly muscles and your loud obnoxious voice?

    Terrorist


  28. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:43 am:

    Caught Lori’s televised temper tantrum yesterday.
    Not helpful.
    Reminds me of the quote:
    If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell”


  29. - NIU Grad - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:47 am:

    “hand the keys to the district’s CEO and board chair”

    This fight has been an advertisement for the elected school board system, because having a Mayor chasing right-leaning votes with a schools fight has created nothing but headaches time and time again.


  30. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:48 am:

    ===This fight has been an advertisement for the elected school board system===

    Agreed.


  31. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:51 am:

    ===It’s not easy as easy for kids to do the saliva test as it is for adults. ===

    So? It’s probably not as easy to get them to sit still for a nasal swab, either.


  32. - LakeCo - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:55 am:

    ===-== If a school ever tested my son without my permission, you bet I would be in inside the principles’ office, intimidating him or her.=====

    Wasn’t there a post just yesterday on how political violence is coming from the mainstream? Meatheads bragging that “intimidation” is their first recourse during dispute with their child’s school seems to prove this point…


  33. - Superintendent - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:57 am:

    They are not providing to all schools. Some schools are too small. We are without and are not able to test.


  34. - GoBulls - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 9:57 am:

    My kid does the saliva test every week. It is not a big deal - seems like CPS should get on that train if they can. Opt out vs. opt in doesn’t seem like a big distinction but agree with giving parents a choice either way.


  35. - Blake - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:08 am:

    TinyDancer, the law is it’s an illegal wildcat strike, the facts are we’re stuck with trade-offs with the vaccines effective enough, the danger for the youngest small enough, & remote learning ineffective enough that we need kids in the building.


  36. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:10 am:

    ===the law is it’s an illegal wildcat strike===

    Health strikes are permitted by state law. Not sure this would qualify, tho. Also don’t think CPS has filed a ULP with the state.


  37. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    ===If that’s the case then we need federal intervention right freaking now. ===

    Rich, have you had an opportunity to stream Netflix’s Don’t Look Up?

    Sometimes it do really be like that.


  38. - Jocko - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    ==If a school ever tested my son without my permission==

    Because, being the responsible parent/citizen you are, would never misrepresent your child’s medical status or mask the symptoms using over-the-counter medication…right? /S


  39. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    === If that’s the case then we need federal intervention right freaking now. ===

    Yep, Dems need to do this yesterday, but it would be a party line vote because ‘freedom’.


  40. - cermak_rd - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:17 am:

    opt-out, as long as the process is simple and regularly communicated in the languages the parents speak seems adequate for parental permission. Why does the mayor not think they are? Does she think the parents of the students are too dumb to follow basic instructions? That does not speak well for her, if so.


  41. - Common Sense - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:19 am:

    As a CTU member I cannot begin to tell how disheartening it is to be backed into a corner in order to take the hit for the mayor’s complete and utter lack of leadership. Ironic thing is that all we had to do was wait a few more days. No way CPS was going to be able to keep the system open without a solid testing plan and a better vaccination rate. 12% last I heard for kids age 5-12.


  42. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:20 am:

    =You’d have to have a rare case of cotton mouth to spend 15 minutes on it.=

    We have some exceptional people. Lol.

    =They are not providing to all schools.=

    True. But CPS is not too small. We do our testing through a partnership of multiple districts. For CPS SHIELD will provide personell.

    =It definitely does cause a minor disruption in school day, but no worse than a fire drill.=

    As a school official that is dealing with this everyday it is more like a fire drill that lasts all day on testing days. But still better than the alternative.


  43. - efficiency - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:26 am:

    ===It’s not easy as easy for kids to do the saliva test as it is for adults. ===

    So? It’s probably not as easy to get them to sit still for a nasal swab, either. ===

    Maybe not, but a nurse or tech can swab for them. You asked why they aren’t using the U of I test, and this is one reason when we’re taking about kids as young as four.


  44. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:27 am:

    ===and this is one reason===

    Yeah? Haven’t heard CPS say that. Plus CPS’ current testing regime is a massive failure.


  45. - Demoralized - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:29 am:

    ==how disheartening it is to be backed into a corner==

    You choose not to go to work. You backed yourself into the corner. Get back in the classroom.


  46. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:31 am:

    ===but a nurse or tech can swab for them===

    I’m not too old to remember what it was like to wipe my young kid’s nose and how she squirmed and fought. So, that ain’t easy, either.

    Point being, there’s help out there and CPS isn’t taking it.


  47. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:32 am:

    === it is wrong to take the decision out of parents hands ===

    First, they would be able to opt-out, so try to pay attention, although you’re ‘free’ to continue to be ignorant, if you’d like.


  48. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:36 am:

    = it’s an illegal wildcat strike=

    It’s the mayor who closed the schools, not the teachers.
    The teachers want to teach.
    They just want to teach in a manner that is safe.
    And until there is adequate staff, testing, and PPE that manner would be remote learning.


  49. - CPS Parent - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:36 am:

    CPS did file a UPL with the State. CTU filed with Labor Board.

    Lori is wrong on testing and should be talking about how to get more kids tested on a regular basis.

    We’re 2 years in and they are still building the plane. It should have been the nicest plane ever built, but instead it continues to fall apart.


  50. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:39 am:

    Maybe we ought to have an elected CDPH director too, because it’s obvious that Lightfoot is speaking when Arwady opens her mouth, just sayin.


  51. - Montrose - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 10:44 am:

    “You choose not to go to work. You backed yourself into the corner. Get back in the classroom.”

    A) Lori has taught CTU that the only way she will talk with them is if they threaten to/take a work action.

    B) As TinyDancer said, teachers want to teach. This isn’t some ploy to sit back and enjoy their time off. There are so many ways the administration could have worked with CTU to have a real plan when the holiday break was over, but, for whatever reason, they chose not to.


  52. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:04 am:

    ===A) Lori has taught CTU that the only way she will talk with them is if they threaten to/take a work action.===

    The FOIAs of her text messages and emails paint the picture of a person who is very difficult to work with and work for in any capacity.


  53. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:08 am:

    If the Governor called the White House a few days ago, how soon may we hear a response?


  54. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:14 am:

    =Maybe not, but a nurse or tech can swab for them. You asked why they aren’t using the U of I test, and this is one reason when we’re taking about kids as young as four.=

    Totally disagree. The saliva test is MUCH EASIER for the younger kids. Swabbing our younger students and some of our special needs students (as we did early on before SHIELD was available) just didn’t work.

    Again, we are doing this weekly so this is not third hand from parents, I am on the ground everyday.

    CTU is not the IEA or IFT. I get that Lightfoot is incompetent and makes it impossible to work with her, but CTU has a long, long history of being over the top with their approach. This is a 50/50 (or as close as I have observed) story of truculence. They should have been talking and come to a solution without running to get in front of a camera and make the other guy look like the bad guy.


  55. - Frigid Cold - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:15 am:

    While 90% of the teachers are vaccinated, that should mean that they are protected already. The bigger question is, what did the City do with all of the Covid relief money set aside for the schools??


  56. - Responsa - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:28 am:

    ==CTU is not the IEA or IFT. I get that Lightfoot is incompetent and makes it impossible to work with her, but CTU has a long, long history of being over the top with their approach. This is a 50/50 (or as close as I have observed) story of truculence. ==

    JS Mill eloquently cuts to the chase. Commenters from downstate or even far suburbs of Chicago may not appreciate how fed up parents, grandparents and other caregivers of CPS school children are right now.


  57. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:34 am:

    === They should have been talking and come to a solution without running to get in front of a camera ===

    How do you know they weren’t trying to do exactly that before getting in front of a camera?

    CTU is overly militant. Agreed.


  58. - New Day - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:35 am:

    “The teachers want to teach. They just want to teach in a manner that is safe.”

    Then how do you explain schools staying open in pretty much every other major city in the country? Those teachers don’t care about being safe? Give me a break. The teachers were given priority to be vaxxed and can get boosted. They are safe (and yea, I was boosted but still got a mild case of Covid. No big deal). They need to be in the classroom teaching these kids the way teachers are in other cities. Yes, Lori is terrible. Yes, she can’t manage her way out of a paper bag. But this is on CTU. They need to stop this and get back to work.


  59. - phenom_Anon - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:43 am:

    =I spit in the tube (many times) the first time I took one of these and it got rejected for being too viscous. You have to drool, and it takes a little time =

    I’ve never heard of that happening. Wonder if somebody screwed something up. I test 3 times per week and have never had an issue, i just don’t swallow for a couple minutes before I go in. I’ve also forgotten about my time, and have tested 15 minutes after eating and still no issues.

    That said, the site in the Stratton is always full of people who take 5-10 minutes to fill the tube, not sure if they just haven’t figured it out yet or what.

    All that said, I’ve also done Abbott home tests, which are quick and easy and don’t matter if your mouth is dry. Same thing for PCR tests at the doctor. If there is not a budgetary issue, I think you could probably swab kids’ noses faster than kids can reliably fill the tube with spit.

    Either way, no excuse to not be testing.


  60. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:43 am:

    In this case, we are opt in for testing. We made that decision based on discussion with our legal counsel and the general disposition of our community.

    We are a small rural district, all of our representation is republican. We have a small, vocal, anti intelligence group and we wanted to avoid empowering them.

    We made sure parents understood what would have to happen if their kids were not tested. The inconvenience was what encouraged opt in, that and the lack of an invasive test.

    The issue with opt out is that so few parents actually respond/pay attention and then get angry due to their own ignorance. Another reason for opt in here.

    =If a school ever tested my son without my permission, you bet I would be in inside the principles’ office, intimidating him or her.=

    It is unlikely that you ever intimidate the PRINCIPAL or anyone else. School personnel have dealt with parents like you for decades. You are the same type of person that shows up during an emergency and demands access to your child, diverting manpower away from dealing with the emergency.

    While you are going through your screed, we are patiently thinking about other important things. When you run out of steam, we give you the standard response and send you on your way.

    We don’t sweat you.


  61. - Wensicia - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:46 am:

    I was reading about the White House working with the USPS to ship free tests to families and will open up a website where you can place an order for this test. I hope this happens soon. We can’t rely on our school districts to provide needed tests.


  62. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 11:51 am:

    – It is unlikely that you ever intimidate the PRINCIPAL or anyone else. –

    My dad was a K-8 principal. Once had a parent, in an office meeting, try to overturn his desk and throw it at him. (This would have been the 80s. So, no, people weren’t really more rational then, they just didn’t get publicized on social media.)

    I believe the WTF hilarity of it was the take away.

    Parents complaining to school administrators is a lot like reader complaints to reporters.


  63. - Chicago Blue - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:03 pm:

    Lori decided a while ago that her path to reelection was attacking CTU and the FOP so she could credibly tilt to either side whether she ends up in a runoff with a progressive or right-winger. She would oppose a proposal from CTU to celebrate a “Lori Lightfoot” day in the city.


  64. - Telly - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:04 pm:

    == Mayor Lightfoot should back away from this fight ==

    Putting her new CPS chief out front would have been the best move both operationally and politically. But if there’s a battle to be fought anywhere at anytime, she runs toward the sound of the guns. CTU isn’t much different.


  65. - Chicago Blue - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:10 pm:

    @ New Day

    The entire Atlanta school district went remote immediately after xmas. The Washington DC school district had a Negative test to return policy after the holidays. Legislators in NY state are pushing the new mayor to go remote. Acting like CTU are the belligerents outside the norm requires putting your head in the sand.


  66. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:17 pm:

    === They should have been talking and come to a solution without running to get in front of a camera ===

    How do you know they weren’t, before, as you say, running to get in front of a camera?

    They both have their fair share of hotheads, but there’s only one mayor.


  67. - Pundent - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:22 pm:

    =Then how do you explain schools staying open in pretty much every other major city in the country? =

    CPS leadership is a disaster and the Mayor is making things worse. I don’t think its the job of the CTU to provide political cover for their mistakes particularly given the way the Mayor has chosen to engage with the CTU over the years.


  68. - Passive Aggressive Observer - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:27 pm:

    If only the mayor and school officials had had, I dunno, a couple weeks where students weren’t there so the mayor and officials could get systems in place and prepped.
    It’s too bad there’s not some kind of, I dunno, mid year break that would have sent students home so the mayor and officials could have planned, implemented and tested procedures to ensure students’ safe return.
    I realize that COVID didn’t exist before the omicron variant and therefore, how could they ever have planned for the current situation.

    Just wondering, have they considered a holiday break? A break for students, I mean. It would then be a great time for the Mayor to put procedures in place. Maybe something to think about going forward.


  69. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:28 pm:

    =How do you know they weren’t,=

    Unless you have evidence that they were, I am going to take their word for it.


  70. - Ashland Adam - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:29 pm:

    “This is a 50/50 (or as close as I can tell) story of truculence.”

    A few points:
    - CPS had - for decades - experienced, central office staff who were committed to public education, students and Chicago. These staff have been systematically retired, not replaced, downsized and outsourced. Few within CPS know how to ‘get things done.’ It’s an internal administrative nightmare.
    - ‘School reform’ has not served Chicago well, with per-pupil budgeting, cuts to ranks of school nurses (librarians, Clinicians, world language programs…etc.), austerity budgets, privatization, charter proliferation;
    - responsible players in dismemberment of CPS - All the CEOs under Daley, Rahm and LL who have….defaulted (14 yrs) on Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, gone to jail for fraud, closed 50 schools, overseen the layoff of thousands of black and Latino educators, been named by CPS inspectors general for scandals, etc.
    - during 2019 strike, CPS officials (those who had actually been teachers - McDade and Jackson) came to agreement w CTU over common sense language regarding working conditions in schools. This language mirrored what exists in nice suburban districts (Good enough for the suburbs, why not good enough for CPS students?). LL blew a gasket when she saw the language and shut down talks, extending the strike to a 3rd week.
    - CTU and CPS negotiated safety committees made up of on-the-ground building staff last year, that allowed Principals, staff, teachers to design and implement their own plans, protocols and procedures last year. Wasn’t perfect - but adaptable and flexible. This year, CPS cancelled all of that, had nothing in place.
    - CPS teachers - those with current experience of the filthy (recall the privatized cleaning services?) schools, inept leadership (Fedex-ing 100 thousand test results)…it’s they who know from first hand experience that CPS and the Mayor who calls the shots will not negotiate unless teachers walk out.

    CTU actions reflect the will and wishes of its members.


  71. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:46 pm:

    =CTU actions reflect the will and wishes of its members.=

    Then shame on all of them.


  72. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:47 pm:

    Sure JS, I’ll do the googling for you. This except is from an October 21st newsletter from CTU to their members. The portion I’m listing below deals with the union’s focus on testing well before the current impasse…

    ===
    CPS told us today in bargaining that they’re still testing less than 20,000 students a week — still woefully short in a district of more than 320,000 schoolchildren whose parents were promised weekly testing for ALL. We’ve created this flyer in English and Spanish to help parents successfully complete CPS’ cumbersome and confusing testing registration process, so share it with your families, send it home with your students, and watch for more ideas about how to get students signed up for tests.
    ===


  73. - Roman - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:09 pm:

    Watching the never-ending Lightfoot/CTU warfare reminds me of the gigantic political favor the legislature did for the next mayor by creating an elected school board. Future mayors with be able to say “not my problem.” That might or might not be the best thing for the city, but it will mean much less heat for the mayor.


  74. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:18 pm:

    =I’ll do the googling for you.=

    Thanks.

    So CTU is lying? Yesterday on WGN one of their leadership people (maybe president, I don’t know their names) stated that they had not been talking.


  75. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:28 pm:

    Not sure what you’re talking about, JS. “not been talking” since when? You’re being a bit nebulous here. You requested to be shown that they had been talking before getting in front of the cameras. I did exactly that.

    I respect your knowledge in this area, but I think you need to stop digging here. I know, since I’ve being out on a limb MANY times before…you can ask Willy and Rich, if you don’t believe me.

    CTU is a squeaky wheel, but they’re correct in this instance. You’re right too, in that there are no winners here. Pandemics do that. It seems that your administration is a bit more competent than CPS, however.


  76. - Ashland Adam - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:38 pm:

    “…then shame on them.”

    Walk in the shoes of a current CPS teacher.

    Shame on the Mayor and CPS for disassembling the procedures put in place last year - procedures that were (imperfectly) working. Shame on them also for planning to protect kids and staff while Omicron peaks. See below news coverage below.

    “…lying…”

    So, taking comments out of context? CPS and CTU have been meeting and discussing since Feb. 2020. Mayor may not have allowed CPS to meet with CTU within some timeframe - in the last few days - but its not CTU walking away.

    Chicago-area children’s hospitals see dramatic spikes in kids admitted with COVID-19, amid latest surge. Chic Tribune. Jan 6 ‘22 https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-children-hospitalized-covid-advocate-20220106-xij5tr7jv5ghnhch2sz4ske7aa-story.html

    “A record-high number of kids are getting hospitalized with Covid-19 as overall Covid-19 hospitalizations soar past the Delta peak” Jan 5, ‘22 https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/04/health/us-coronavirus-tuesday/index.html


  77. - Ashland Adam - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:40 pm:

    Correction…

    Shame ….on Mayor and CPS for not planning to protect kids…”


  78. - New Day - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:41 pm:

    “The entire Atlanta school district went remote immediately after xmas. The Washington DC school district had a Negative test to return policy after the holidays. Legislators in NY state are pushing the new mayor to go remote. Acting like CTU are the belligerents outside the norm requires putting your head in the sand.”

    You found three examples in the country and in two of them, the kids are still in school. The NY legislature may be talking about it but the new Mayor has made sure the kids are where they belong - in school. The NY union has asked for remote school, but they’re still in school teaching. That’s the point. As I’ve said, the Mayor and CPS are also responsible, but CTU is the entity that refuses to allow its teachers to teach. This is not March 2020 when I supported the teachers’ position. We know a hell of a lot more now and teachers have had an opportunity to get vaxxed and boosted. Enough’s enough.


  79. - Friendly Bob Adams - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:53 pm:

    Nothing gets the comments going on this site like CPS, CTU and Mayor Lightfoot.


  80. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 2:16 pm:

    JS, you asked me to show you that CTU has been placing an emphasis on testing prior to “getting in front of a camera”. I did.

    Now you are making a rather foolish statement, saying that CTU is “lying”.

    === one of their leadership people (maybe president, I don’t know their names) stated that they had not been talking. ===

    I don’t know the context in which that statement was made, but lying seems to be a bit of an extreme conclusion. Maybe they hadn’t been talking since earlier that day. I think you need to stop digging here. Believe me, I know. Willy, Rich, and other commenters have to me as much many times before.

    CTU is definitely a squeaky wheel. They complain early and often about a lot of things. Sometimes they’re right. The CPS testing program is a complete failure. They’ve been making their voices heard, and they felt there was no alternative than taking action to force the issue. This doesn’t make them look good at all. But as more and more facts emerge about CPS testing screwups, they felt they were working in an environment that was getting more and more unsafe for students and staff each day that Omicron continued to devastate our community.

    As Willy said, there are no winners here. I wish this could have been solved before it got to this point. It wasn’t. I believe CPS bears much more of the responsibility for the current situation than does CTU. YMMV

    Your administration seems much more competent than CPS and our battling mayor, by the way. Maybe you ought to have a chat with Pedro and Lori. Good luck, if you decide on that course of action.


  81. - Unconventionalwisdom - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 2:31 pm:

    If that is morally repugnant, I wonder how she feels about minor children being to be able to get an abortion without parental notification?

    And just as ludicrous is that the parents would have to ‘opt out’ which is a specific action that more than implies parental involvement.


  82. - Back to the Future - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 2:32 pm:

    Of course, Pritzker and CTU will continue to oppose charter schools in the city, but this difficult situation highlights the need for more - - a lot more- - character schools to give parents some options to the CTU/CPS circus.


  83. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 2:45 pm:

    Sorry for the double post. Heh, I thought I got moderated again, so I rewrote it. Patience is a virtue.


  84. - Unconventional wisdom - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:03 pm:

    The more public schools refuse to meet and rely on ‘remote learning’ the more parents will eventually come to the conclusion they don’t need those schools and will demand vouchers for private schools.


  85. - PublisServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:09 pm:

    Good luck with that.


  86. - Ben Tre - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:38 pm:

    “quasi-medical procedure”!?! That sounds like language the far-right has been using to challenge testing for the last year.


  87. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:42 pm:

    =Then how do you explain schools staying open in pretty much every other major city in the country? =

    Aw, Ma……..everyone’s doin’ it.


  88. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:44 pm:

    ===That sounds like language the far-right has been using to challenge testing for the last year===

    Yep.


  89. - Spit King - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 4:22 pm:

    SHIELD is not the only saliva-based PCR test offered to schools. Safeguard Surveillance is used at Stevenson, Francis Parker and Bernard Zell, to name a few. Safeguard Surveillance uses the Yale SalivaDirect test and unlike SHIELD, the test can be administered at home and turned in at school so no class time is wasted. Another plus is that unlike SHIELD, Safeguard returns results in less than 24 hours so nobody goes to school the next day if they are positive. Safeguard gets not love from the powers that be, like the Gov, but they are the best game in town.


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