CPS Staff Return Tuesday Jan 11 & Classes to Resume for all CPS Students on Wednesday, January 12


Sent: Monday, January 10, 2022 9:16 PM

Subject: Classes to Resume for all CPS Students on Wednesday, January 12 | Clases en persona estarán en sesión el miércoles, 12 de enero


Dear Families, I am excited to share the news that CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) have reached an agreement to bring staff and students back into schools for in-person learning. All staff will be reporting to schools tomorrow, Tuesday, January 11, and in-person classes will resume for all CPS students on Wednesday, January 12. Please do not plan to send your children to school tomorrow - Tuesday, January 11 - unless your principal has confirmed that in-person activities will take place. We will share more information on the agreement soon. In addition to children returning to school on Wednesday, the following services will also be available:

• Food Service

• Athletics

• After-School Activities

• Before and After-Care (for those schools that offer this service)

• Transportation

• COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Events As always, students should not come to school if they are not feeling well or are showing any symptoms of COVID-19. And those children who are still in quarantine due to testing positive or being a close contact should not return to school until their quarantine time is complete.

We are profoundly grateful for your patience and partnership throughout this challenging time and look forward to welcoming all of your children safely back to class on Wednesday, January 12. Our goal moving forward will be to focus all of our attention on providing students with the rigorous, high-quality education they deserve while continuing to help them navigate safely through the pandemic. Sincerely,

Pedro Martinez

Chief Executive Officer

Chicago Public Schools

Estimadas familias, Me complace compartir la noticia de que CPS y el Sindicato de Maestros de Chicago (CTU) han llegado a un acuerdo sobre cómo hacer que el personal y los estudiantes regresen a la escuela para el aprendizaje en persona a partir de mañana martes, 11 de enero. Las clases estarán en sesión para TODOS los estudiantes de CPS el martes 12 de enero No planee enviar a sus hijos a la escuela mañana, martes 11 de enero, a menos que su director haya confirmado que se llevarán a cabo actividades en persona. Compartiremos más información sobre el acuerdo pronto. Además de que los niños regresen a la escuela mañana, los siguientes servicios también estarán disponibles el martes 12 de enero: • Servicio de Alimentos

• Deportes

• Actividades extraescolares

• Cuidado antes y después de clases (para aquellas escuelas que ofrecen este servicio)

• Transporte

• Pruebas de COVID-19 y eventos de vacunación Como siempre, los estudiantes no deben venir a la escuela si no se sienten bien o muestran algún síntoma de COVID-19. Y aquellos niños que aún estén en cuarentena por haber dado positivo en las pruebas o por ser un contacto cercano, no deben regresar a la escuela hasta que termine su tiempo de cuarentena.

Estamos profundamente agradecidos por su paciencia y colaboración durante este tiempo difícil y esperamos dar la bienvenida a todos sus hijos de manera segura de regreso a la clase el miércoles, 12 de enero. Nuestro objetivo para el futuro será centrar toda nuestra atención en proporcionar a los estudiantes la educación de calidad y rigurosa que se merecen, a la vez que continuamos ayudándoles a navegar de forma segura a través de la pandemia. Cordialmente,

Pedro Martínez

Director Ejecutivo

Escuelas Públicas de Chicago


January 14, 2022 at 6:46 AM

By: John Whitfield

Student Activism, Friday morning walkout

Students don't want to learn in a 'COVID petri dish'

As teachers unions and schools battle over in-person and remote learning, students nationwide are demanding a seat at the table. Many are staging walkouts this week.

“We are the ones who have been in this environment every day. It's our bodies that we're putting at risk," said Kayla Quinlan, a 16-year-old student activist at Boston Day and Evening Academy. “Students should have a say in what their learning environment looks like, but our voices are always left out."

School officials have also faced pressure to stay open for the sake of students' academic, social and mental well-being. Research has shown extended school closures during the pandemic have exacerbated mental health challenges and worsened learning outcomes.

While specific demands vary, students' requests largely center around allowing remote learning options as an alternative for those who are worried about coming to school, rather than shutting classrooms down altogether. Student coalitions that have advocated for shifting fully to remote have only called to do so temporarily if schools do not enforce stricter COVID-19 precautions, including more frequent testing and higher-quality masks.

Despite surging COVID-19 cases across the country, fueled by the highly-contagious omicron variant, Quinlan said many Boston schools have started to take precautions less seriously, often not enforcing masking or social distancing.

SCHOOLS AND COVID:The pandemic changed American education overnight. Some changes are here to stay.

“It feels like a breeding ground for COVID, like a COVID petri dish,” she said. “How are you supposed to feel safe?”

This is why students in Boston and elsewhere in Massachusetts are planning a walkout Friday morning, Quinlan said. Similar student walkouts and protests have happened in New York City, Milwaukee, Seattle and Oakland, California.

And after returning to class just two days ago, students in Chicago will also stage a walkout Friday morning, led by a new organization called Chicago Public Schools Radical Youth Alliance. The alliance has demanded CPS and government officials “bring students to the bargaining table” in ongoing negotiations with teachers, who refused to come to in-person school for a week. Students also want public apologies for comments officials made about the Chicago Teachers Union during the intense stand-off last week.

“We stand with the educators, mentors, adult supports, and parents of our school communities, but most importantly, we stand for ourselves, our peers, & our needs,” the alliance said on Twitter last week. “We believe that WE should be the ones to execute, steer, and decide what is best for ourselves, our lives, our health, and our safety.”

Around lunchtime Tuesday, hundreds of New York City students walked out of class to call for remote learning options during a wave of cases as the omicron variant rapidly spreads through the city.

Samantha Farrow, a 16-year-old student organizer at Stuyvesant High School, called it an “uplifting moment” and said she felt less alone in her fears about COVID cases in schools.

Before winter break, she cried to her mother, anxious about going to school with surging cases, especially while living with an immunocompromised family member. When she returned to school this year, she said it was “pretty desolate,” with half-empty classrooms and missing teachers. Due to staffing shortages, most days have been “non-instructional days” spent reading on her own or scrolling through her phone.

She said a remote learning option will not only help students feel safer but offer better-quality instruction in classrooms already disrupted by spikes in cases.

“Students are the ones having to go to school every day in these conditions,” she said. “We have ideas about what can help make this better.”

KIDS ARE GETTING COVID: How the omicron surge is impacting child hospitalizations, school safety

Several student activists told USA TODAY walkouts nationwide have offered hope and a sense of solidarity after they've felt sidelined by local and district officials in conversations about COVID in schools.

"It's encouraging to see that we're not the only ones fighting, that there are people in other states who are fighting for the same cause and we have each other's backs," Farrow said.

In Oakland, students organized a sick-in Thursday and created a petition signed by over 1,200 students. Ayleen Serrano, a 15-year-old sophomore at MetWest High School, said organizers have gotten emails of support from students in cities across California, including San Jose and Los Angeles, as well as from Florida, Texas and Canada.

"It's so exciting to see this spread so far," Serrano said. "I hope what we're doing is inspiring others to use their voices."

The string of walkouts this week are part of a renewed period of growth for high school activism, said Joseph Kahne, a professor of education policy at University of California, Riverside.

He said much of this spike in student protests came about in response to the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, George Floyd's murder and concerns about climate change. He hasn't seen such an upswing in student activism since the 1960s and 1970s.

RAPID TESTS, LOTS OF RAPID TESTS: How US schools plan to stay open amid omicron-fueled COVID-19 surge

"We're living in a tumultuous time, and the stakes are high. Students recognize that these issues will affect them," he said. Protests over COVID policies "add something valuable to our political discourse by letting us hear from the young people these policies affect most."

When her fellow student activists leave their classrooms in Boston on Friday morning, Quinlan won’t be joining them in the walkout she helped organize. On Wednesday, she found out she tested positive for COVID-19.

“I'm really sad that I won't be able to be there showing solidarity with my fellow peers,” she said. “There's this sort of painful irony. But this is exactly the reason why we're doing this. We deserve more. We deserve safety. And we are going to fight for change.”

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

January 17, 2022 at 10:00 AM

By: John Whitfield

Legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As we reflect today on the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., let us also look at how the abiding movement for social and economic justice he led informs our union’s daily work and struggle.

Dr. King’s fight for civil rights touched on every political injustice before our nation: equal rights for all, a groundswell of poor people’s movements to demand real economic equity, growing resistance to the harrowing consequences of the Vietnam War and a widening consensus that without true justice, there can be no true peace.

On Friday, students across our city embraced the traditions of the non-violent movement Dr. King anchored by walking out of schools in protest of failed institutions and school policies. As a history teacher, it was imperative that my students learn how events of the past shaped contemporary struggles, and learn how to use the power of their voice, and their agency, in demanding change for their families and communities.

Students’ fight for safety and security in their school buildings stemmed from an understanding of inequities that have plagued our country for generations, just as Dr. King and pioneers of the civil rights movement understood that any campaign for equality must be understood in the context of centuries of enslavement and discriminaton in America’s past.

I taught my students that Dr. King and the movement were not just citations in history books, but part of a living and evolving journey toward liberation and dignity for Black and Brown children and adults. At the end of that journey is social and economic justice for every working class community.

Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee, standing up for striking sanitation workers as part of the Poor People’s Campaign when he was cut down by an assassin’s bullet. The campaign had been launched a year earlier to demand living wage work and public education to provide disenfranchised Americans with a path out of poverty and oppression. The task of movements such as these — people’s movements — was to derail the exploitation and indifference of business, and speak truth to power in forcing truly substantive, progressive change. Dr. King knew that labor rights were an essential plank in this platform.

One tenet of our union’s mission is promoting "racial, economic and social justice in order to achieve educational justice, and build community and labor coalitions to achieve that objective.” I am proud to say that Chicago Teachers Union educators, and their students, are among leaders in upholding Dr. King’s legacy, and embracing a commitment to fighting for greater good for us all.

In solidarity,

Jesse Sharkey

CTU President

January 17, 2022 at 4:23 PM

By: Dr. John Kugler

MLK Never Attacked the Working Class

Dr. King fought against institutions and ideas, not people or businesses.

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