The president of the Chicago Teachers Union instructed his members to omit mentioning that they had received the vaccine for COVID-19 if “it could negatively impact any accommodations you have been granted or requested.”
Jesse Sharkey stated, “The union is not going to agree that CPS can violate the plain language of our MOA. So, for now, the union does not have an agreement with CPS on this issue and we do not believe they can mandate disclosure until we complete negotiations. We recommend CTU members wait to complete the disclosure survey if you believe it could negatively impact any accommodations you have been granted or requested.”
— Kathryn Rose (@lphshistory) March 16, 2021
That means that if the teachers have been accommodated by working at home, and revealing they had gotten the vaccine would imperil that situation, the teachers should simply avoid completing a disclosure survey that the Chicago Public Schools had sent.
“The school district and the Chicago Teachers Union have been involved in a public battle over whether to resume in-person instruction after months of virtual learning. The dispute centers on what the union has deemed inadequate safety protocols,” Fox Wilmington reported.
Sharkey stated, “I don’t have a problem with people answering this kind of survey. I do have a problem with CPS not bargaining it with us,” WBBM reported, adding, “Sharkey said another disclosure deterrent may be teachers fearful of losing their third quarter accommodations allowing them to teach from home, even though they are supposed to remain intact.”
Sharkey asserted, “Now CPS appears to be saying, ‘No, we are going to review them for this quarter.’ And the problem is that people have their life set up around these accommodations.”
Chicago Democrat mayor Lori Lightfoot has criticized the CTU, saying it has aspirations “akin to a political party. … When you have unions that have other aspirations beyond being a union, and maybe being something akin to a political party, then there’s always going to be conflict. … I think, ultimately, they’d like to take over not only Chicago Public Schools, but take over running the city government. That’ll play itself out over time. I don’t really spend time, and certainly not in the middle of a pandemic, worrying about the politics. But politics intrudes, always.”
In mid-December the Chicago Board of Education decided to resume some in-school classes in January, but the Chicago Teachers Union was vehemently opposed to the idea. CTU President Jesse Sharkey stated, “This is the most difficult time. Transmission is highest. It’s dark and cold. People are indoors and the holidays are coming, so there’s going to be a lot of transmission.”
“The union pointed to recent surveys showing two-thirds of Chicago Public Schools parents refusing to send their kids back,” WGN reported before the holiday break. “The union is arguing that it’s much safer to offer a beefed-up remote learning plan until the vaccine can do its work to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.”
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Janice Jackson countered by saying that parents are calling for a return to the classroom, asserting, “We are serving a large swath of our families who believe this is the best choice for their students, and we believe we have a moral obligation to do so.”