Chicago Public Schools parents held a protest in front of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s house Monday, aiming to give voice to their concerns over the dangers of the coronavirus.
The parents are seeking options to return to online learning, saying that they aren’t satisfied with the protocols and policies schools have put in place, or with the enforcement of those rules.
Protesters held a march on Monday in Logan Square, demanding accountability and other action items, with parents, students and some teachers gathering at the Logan Square Monument.
“I have yet to be asked where anyone sits. I have yet to be asked how close anyone has been to a person who’s tested positive,” teacher Nora Flanagan, who is also a CPS parent, said.
Flanagan says there are 31 children in her classroom, and she wants increased accountability, transparency and resources as educators work under the strain of a surge in new COVID cases.
“We’ve had kids test positive (and the) process is a mess,” she said. “The only thing messier is the flow of information.”
Teachers and parents at the protest say that they are seeking answers to other questions, including where federal COVID relief dollars, some of which were earmarked for school safety, are being spent.
“For my son and my 6-year-old daughter, it’s unconscionable,” Maria Estrada, a mom in the district, said. “There’s not a reason to bring them back. I’m so angry.”
“A remote option is needed,” 6th grade student Antonio Breed said. “Not everyone feels safe going back to the building. I sure know I don’t.”
The district says that its contact tracing operations are running “around the clock,” and that they have given all principals in CPS the authority to transition classes to remote learning in the event of an outbreak of COVID cases.
Even still, parents say that more needs to be done, and say that their children are paying the price for the uncertainty amid the return to the classroom.
“He is terrified, and I believe a lot of students are as well,” Estrada said. “I don’t blame teachers. They’ve been put in an impossible situation.”