United for Safe CPS Schools Now Petition
CTU has been bargaining with the mayor's CPS team for months, trying to negotiate a safety agreement that protects members, students, and families. But the mayor has rejected landing an agreement at the same time that she's failed to build trust with parents and families -- while CPS was woefully unprepared for the start of the school year. Testing, contact tracing, vaccine access, ventilation and social distancing -- all critical mitigation strategies -- are a shambles at schools across the city that are also desperately short of adults to support students. Mayor Lightfoot has $2 billion in COVID relief funds at her disposal through CPS -- and ANOTHER $2 billion in supports directly for City agencies -- to ensure that schools are staffed, stable, and safe. Yet she continues to refuse to use the resources at her disposal to provide maximum safety in our schools.

Operating schools during the pandemic has been incredibly challenging, and one of the best ways to meet that challenge is to collaborate with stakeholders. UTLA -- the United Teachers of Los Angeles -- and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) -- landed an agreement for weekly mandatory COVID testing of students and staff, beginning before the school year started, with a parent opt-out consent structure that ensures testing occurs widely and quickly. Their agreement also provides a robust all-virtual option for students and families, with the Board of Education also mandating COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible students. We've called for all of these protections here in Chicago, yet today Los Angeles offers a far safer plan than what CPS has unilaterally implemented here. Chicago's students, families, educators and school staff deserve better.

We, the undersigned, call upon Mayor Lori Lightfoot to ensure that CPS provides all of the following immediately so our schools are more safe and trust begins to be rebuilt. We demand that the mayor's CPS team:

1. Provide accurate, timely, easily accessible public reporting of COVID cases and close contacts in quarantine at each CPS school.

2. Provide on-site COVID testing for all students and staff at all CPS schools now, and simplify the parent/family consent process for testing so testing can actually occur.

3. Provide notification via contact tracing of positive COVID cases within 48 hours of a case being reported -- including positive cases in classrooms or student rosters to teachers and staff, and of close contact incidents to parents and families.

4. Provide widespread vaccine access, using every possible resource and channel to widely advertise, support school based organizing for, and staff at least 50 vaccination events per week.

5. Utilize all possible resources to staff up our schools with the educators, nurses, social workers, counselors, teacher assistants, STLS coordinators and other critical adults who students rely on for support, remote learning, and opportunities to learn safely while socially distancing at school.
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