CPS and CTU clash again over returning to class
By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_
More than 300,000 CPS students are expected back in the classroom today amid the omicron surge and questions about the district’s COVID-19 safety protocols.
Before winter break, the district sent at-home test kits to 150,000 students in areas hardest hit by COVID-19.
Chicago Tribune’s E. Jason Wambsgans captured FedEx drop boxes overflowing with returned kits, which prompted CPS to extend the deadline.
On the first day of break, CPS recorded its highest-case count: 173 students and 121 adults were positive.
The Chicago Teachers Union, or CTU, proposed students and staffers show negative tests before returning to in-person learning, access to high-quality masks, and a metric for schools to switch to remote learning.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez defended the district’s safety efforts, and said in-school transmission isn’t as common as other settings, like family gatherings.
But if the union’s measures aren’t agreed upon, will CTU take action? TBD.
🎧 Listen to Chicago Tribune’s Tracy Swartz shares what’s next for the nation’s third-largest school district.
👉 Check out the CPS COVID-19 tracker.
❄️ FIRST SNOWFALL
It wasn’t a “White Christmas,” but it’s been a heckuva snowy new year. And it’s on residents to keep those sidewalks clear. Here’s what to know:
⏰ A five-foot path must be cleared ASAP, according to city code.
🧂 Don’t use too much salt: it affects our water and fish, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District said.
👋 Look to My Block My Hood My City or the Lincoln Square Snow Brigade for snow removal help or to volunteer.
❓ What does your neighborhood look like covered in snow? Send us pics! Reply to this email or send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Cast’s Simone Alicea saw people running, strolling, and walking dogs along the Lakefront Trail at Foster Beach Sunday.
▪️ The city’s proof-of-vax requirement starts today. [City of Chicago]
▪️ In-person services at the DMV are closed for two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise. Have an expired ID like a certain newsletter writer? It’s valid until March 31. [Secretary of State]
▪️ More than 300 state laws went into effect Saturday, tackling issues like minimum wage and lemonade stands. [Chicago Sun-Times]
▪️ You need to watch Bulls star DeMar DeRozan’s back-to-back game-winning buzzer beaters against the Pacers AND Wizards 🤯
▪️ The Bears beat the Giants 29–3 🤯🤯🤯 It must be a new year. [Chicago Tribune]
+ TODAY: Chicago Industrial Arts & Design Center free CPS classes
Students can take free art classes this winter term at the Rogers Park studio.
+ SATURDAY: Free Blackhawks hockey clinic
Kids can learn to play hockey at Mount Greenwood Park Saturday at 11 a.m.
+ THIS WEEK: “One-Man Star Wars Trilogy”
See the show at Lincoln Park’s Apollo Theater from Wednesday to Saturday.
✅ WE ASKED, YOU ANSWERED
Here’s a bonus holiday treat: Artist John Soss shared some of his fav festive decorations across the city from years past, and I’m personally loving Deflated Santa. (I know that’s how a lot of us felt by the end of 2021.)
If you didn’t get your fill of holiday decorations yet, don’t worry: I’m sure plenty of Chicagoans will “leave the Christmas lights up til’ January” 🎶
👉 See Soss’ latest exhibit, “On the Beach,” at the Dime in Humboldt Park.