Chicago teachers go door to door to sign families up for COVID testing while students are shut out of classrooms

AP Photo/Seth Wenig,File

Chicago teachers are participating in an illegal strike, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot. With free time on their hands, some teachers are walking door to door signing families up for COVID-19 testing. Apparently, it is safe to expose themselves to random adults but not to do their jobs in classrooms with children. 2022 is starting off as poorly as 2021 ended.


Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), tweet-bragged on the teachers. Newsweek described it as teachers spreading “education to families by educating parents on COVID-19.” Chicago educators gotta educate, I guess, just not in their classrooms doing their actual jobs. What heroes.

Newsweek previously reported that teachers throughout Chicago were unable to log into remote-learning systems on Wednesday — an issue that will continue the rest of the week. This lockout came after the Chicago Teachers’ Union voted to revert to remote learning amidst the current COVID-19 surge. Although tensions between the CTU and Chicago authorities continue to rise, the union announced early Thursday morning that they will be visiting neighborhoods to sign families up for COVID-19 testing while unable to access systems.

“Less than half of CPS students are vaccinated, at the same time that city numbers for vaccinations among Black and Brown children remain dismal,” wrote the CTU in the statement. “CPS has refused to release school-by-school vaccine numbers, at the same time that few students are getting weekly COVID tests at hundreds of schools, with parents complaining that CPS is not even testing students who HAVE been signed up.”

Because of this, teachers were poised to meet at Back of the Woods High School before dispersing to nearby neighborhoods. CTU hopes this event will demonstrate the importance of proper COVID-19 testing and protection protocols, something that they accuse Chicago Public Schools of not providing.


Weingarten should advise the White House and her big supporter, Jill Biden, about the importance of testing because there has been a shortage of them available to Americans since before Biden took office. Biden promised he would shut down the virus, and that the adults would be in charge. He said his administration would be filled with people who know how to get things done. Almost a year into his term and the shortage of tests is greater than ever. The only thing being shut down is in-person learning for children – again.

Most cities and towns across America have opened public schools for the spring semester. Some teacher unions are holding out, though, on the premise that it is just too dangerous to go back to the classroom because of the highly contagious Omicron variant. Remember that teachers were given priority when the vaccines became available as they were put into the essential worker category. Their long list of demands have been met. Millions of dollars have been spent to re-open schools and allow school children to get back to a more normal life. Yet, here we are with the Chicago Teacher Union.

On Meet the Press Sunday morning, Mayor Lightfoot called last week’s walkout by teachers an “illegal walkout”. Teachers refused to do their jobs and teach in their classrooms, falling back on insisting on only remote learning. The union released a statement criticizing Lightfoot and she responded in the same tone to them.


“The mayor’s CPS team has repeatedly failed to meet even its own modest promises in testing and contact tracing, refused to stand up a robust student vaccine program, refused to document HVAC safety, failed to maintain even 3-foot social distancing, failed to improve serious problems with sanitation and cleanliness, and continues to reject a science-based metric to determine when there’s too much COVID to learn in-person safely,” concluded the statement.

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CTU President Jesse Sharkey had sharp words for each other regarding online learning. These remarks came before Chicago Public Schools announced that classes will also be canceled Friday, with limited classes and activities being available in select schools.

“Enough is enough,” Lightfoot said during a Thursday television interview. “I’m tired of the Groundhog Day appearance of everything that goes on with the Chicago Teachers Union leadership. We need partnership, we don’t need conflict.”

What about this week? Will schools be open this week in Chicago? The mayor told Chuck Todd that her team continues to work with the union representatives and talks are continuing every day, including Sunday. After missing out last week will the kids get back to normal this week?

“Well, I’m doing everything I can to make sure that happens. To be clear, what the Chicago teachers union did was an illegal walkout. They abandoned their posts and abandoned kids and their families. We’re working diligently every single day at the bargaining table to narrow the differences and get a deal done. Our team has been working every single day. They’re back at it again here Sunday. They were at it yesterday. We can get a deal done if there’s goodwill on both sides.”

She added, “But fundamentally, what we cannot do is abandon the science. We know that the safest place for kids to be is in the morning in schools, and we’ve spent millions hundreds of millions of dollars to make our schools safe. They are safe. We’ve got the data that demonstrate that we’ve got to get the teachers union to get real and get serious about getting back into in-person learning.


The follow the science mantra seems to shift, especially now as the fully vaccinated are getting infected with the Omicron variant of the virus. As soon as that happened, Democrats, like Lightfoot, had to start acknowledging that life must go on, we have to learn to live with the virus. We can’t vaccinate our way out of this pandemic, though it is what the Biden administration counted on. The plan was to repeat “get vaccinated” over and over until the majority of the population did just that. There was never a realistic possibility of a 100% vaccination rate. The administration still refuses to tout the advantages of natural immunity and therapeutics.

Chicago parents are suing over the illegal strike. The silver lining in the pandemic, if you can call it that, is that parents have found their voice and have recommitted themselves to overseeing their children’s education. This will remain a big issue in the midterm elections, too, just as it was in the Virginia elections. The Virginia gubernatorial election was a perfect example of unions and Democrats on one page and American voters on another. The pandemic served as a huge wake up call for parents to see what is happening at the hands of teacher unions across the country.

A perfect storm has arrived for the school choice movement. Allow the money to follow the child. Demand accountability. Let charter schools flourish. Destroy the unions. They’ve done enough damage.


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