The Chicago Teachers Union is asking CPS to delay the return of high school students to in-person learning one week to address concerns about COVID spread among younger people.
MICHELLE GALLARDO: It's been more than a year since the hallways of Chicago's public high schools looked like this. But with partial in-person learning scheduled to resume April 19, the teachers union is now asking for a one-week delay as the rate of infections amongst the younger populations continues to increase.
JESSE SHARKEY: It's critical we believe that there be some plan for vaccinating high school students who are, in many cases, eligible for vaccine and their family members.
MICHELLE GALLARDO: In addition, teachers say finding the right scheduling breakdown between in-person and at-home instruction is crucial to maintaining safety.
EDEN MCCAUSLIN: We can't have 2,000 kids running through the buildings trying to grab their lunch, trying to go to class. We have to keep that six-foot space, so we have to do two days a week.
MICHELLE GALLARDO: According to a recent CPS survey, only 44% of responding parents want their high schoolers to return to in-person learning. Jackie Herigodt got her first doses of vaccine yesterday. She's now desperately trying to get one for her daughter Bella, who at 17 will not be eligible to get one until the very day she is set to return to Lincoln Park High School.
JACKIE HERIGODT: And it just doesn't make any sense to me, considering they're supposed to go back to school April 19 as a CPS student. And I don't want to send her unless she is vaccinated.
MICHELLE GALLARDO: The mayor today saying high schools will reopen as agreed upon by the district and the teachers union several weeks ago.
LORI LIGHTFOOT: I see no basis for delay, and it's my expectation that we're going to be opening up high schools as indicated by CPS.
MICHELLE GALLARDO: Even as negotiations over scheduling continue, CPS says they are already working on a plan to prioritize vaccines for students over the age of 16.