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.
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.”
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.