The Chicago Teachers Union and multiple other organizations held several events Monday as they continue to push for schools to start the academic year with remote learning as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Monday's events in Chicago are part of a nationwide day of action taking place in dozens of states across the U.S.
During one of the events Monday, parents and students spoke out in favor of remote learning, then held a public art installation to mourn lives lost to COVID-19, in the Emmett Street parking lot, according to the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.
An hour after that event, the CTU convened a car caravan at the union's headquarters. The caravan then traveled to Chicago's Loop, with dozens of cars honking their horns and circling downtown office buildings to demand education equity and remote learning in the fall.
According to CTU leaders, Chicago Public Schools' hybrid plan for the fall, which includes a mix of remote learning and in-person instruction, "falls short on safety." Leaders said CPS has not put enough money into cleaning and janitorial improvements.
“Providing us 40,000 tubs of sanitizing wipes? So I get two tubs of wipes? That might get me through a few lunch periods," Erin Lynch, an art and special education teacher at CPS, said during a car caravan last month. "We ask that CPS finally put students' and staff's safety and health first."
CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said that city officials appear to care more about protecting bar patrons and fitness enthusiasts. She added that Friday’s restrictive action on those businesses is more stringent than this September’s plan for pods of 15 kids.
“You see the heat maps of cases. Our positivity rate is going up in Illinois -- no playgrounds, no indoor dining. We have that and yet we are talking about opening schools in this moment? It just seems completely upside down," Gates said.