The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

CPS
—Re-Opening Schools Unsafely

Jan 18, 2021

Chicago Public Schools opened its doors back up to in-person learning on January 4 for the first time since the pandemic, as ordered by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Already there have been Covid cases at 35 schools.

Yes, in-person learning should be available to some students. But the plan CPS has implemented has very little to do with education. For instance, Lindblom High School has a Cluster Special Education program, for disabled students with high needs. This program services about fifty students, staffed by about 18 adults.

Currently, three of the fifty students have come to school. But the district is requiring all adults who work with these students to work from the school building. Only four adults work with the students in person. The rest have to come to school, then work from their computer on remote classes—putting them at risk for no reason. Lindblom has had eight positive cases of Covid just since September—and those were with smaller numbers of adults in the building.

Lightfoot and the district promised parents clean schools and new air purifiers. But the teachers who have gone in have reported dirty classrooms and unemptied trash cans—no different from before the pandemic. And the thousands of purifiers they bought are meant for small rooms like a living room in a home.

Some school workers who take care of vulnerable relatives have been denied accommodations and have refused to come into work. They have been locked out of their virtual classrooms and cut off from their students.

Businesses all over the city want to get back to making profits. For them, that means kids back in school and workers back at work. The school reopening has been a shit-show, geared not to safety or education, but to satisfy capitalists’ demands.