CPS Reports Progress With Getting Its Staff Vaccinated For COVID-19, But There Is A Long Way To Go

Chicago Public Schools leaders said Wednesday that the district is making progress in getting all of its employees vaccinated – or at least offering them vaccinations. CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reports.

Video Transcript

- Chicago Public Schools CEO says the district is making progress in getting all of its employees vaccinated or at least offering vaccines, but the number of employees who have actually gotten a shot is still low. CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov live outside of Roosevelt High School. Dana.

DANA KOZLOV: Erica, according to the latest CPS data, less than one third of all CPS employees have actually gotten their vaccine. They can go to school vaccination sites like this one here at Roosevelt High School. However, that percentage is actually higher among teachers. And today, CPS's CEO says the district has hit a major vaccination milestone.

JANICE JACKSON: We have offered a vaccine to all Chicago Public Schools employees as well as vendors that work in our building.

DANA KOZLOV: But Dr. Janice Jackson says there's still much vaccination progress to be made. CPS's updated data shows 14,064 of a total of 47,448 CPS employees have gotten at least their first vaccination dose. Breaking it down further, 7,584 of the district's almost 22,000 teachers have been vaccinated too.

The latest numbers are out about a week after Chicago Teachers Union president Jesse Sharkey sent this letter asking members wait to respond to CPS's vaccination survey because labor law requires that ask be negotiated.

JESSE SHARKEY: I don't have a problem with people answering this kind of a survey. I do have a problem with CPS not bargaining with us.

DANA KOZLOV: Bargaining is now at the center of another CTU CPS communication snag, this one about reopening high schools. Tuesday, the district sent this letter to parents stating April 19 as its reopening target date and stating talks will continue regularly as both sides strive to reach a consensus. But the union later blasted that email, Sharkey accusing CPS of distorting the status of negotiations.

JANICE JACKSON: With regard to the tension, I was confused by that. We shared the letter that we sent out to parents with Jesse Sharkey personally. He provided edits to the letter. And so I was confused with the back-and-forth.

DANA KOZLOV: This email chain between Sharkey and a CPS staffer shows he was asked and then offered input about that CPS update, asking the district to make sure it included language that negotiations are not finalized yet. So what went wrong?

JANICE JACKSON: You'd have to ask him. I can't speak for him.

DANA KOZLOV: I did reach out to a CTU spokesperson this afternoon, and she simply referred me back to the CTU statement to members last night that nothing at all about high school reopening has been agreed upon. Erica.

- OK. Well, Dana, even though the union is still asking its members not to answer the vaccination survey, how many have actually answered it anyway?

DANA KOZLOV: Well, that's interesting. According to CPS, about 40% have actually answered that survey. Specifically how bargaining over that issue is going, though, no updates, so unclear when, if ever, the union will give its members the official green light to go ahead and answer that question. Erica.

- All right, Dana. Thank you.