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What Chicagoans say about CPS schools being reopened despite the pandemic

Some support bringing students and teachers back to Chicago classrooms. Many question whether it’s safe. Some note the Chicago Board of Ed is still meeting virtually.

Pre-kindergarten teacher Angela Panush reads a story to her students at Dawes Elementary on Monday.
Pre-kindergarten teacher Angela Panush reads a story to her students at Dawes Elementary on Monday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

The Chicago Public Schools system is in the process of bringing students back to their classrooms, so we asked readers what they think of how CPS is handling the reopening in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Some answers have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

“No one wins: students, parents, teachers, administration. This is an unprecedented and terribly difficult circumstance felt by everyone.” — Perlina Dani Chitwood

“I think it’s reckless, and it’s a political move by the mayor. This way, she looks good, and the CTU looks bad. Shame on her. Show some damn empathy for these teachers! Will not vote for her a second time.” — Sam Fakhoury

“Isn’t it ironic that CPS wants teachers and up to 15 students to be in rooms together for six hours wearing mask, but the seven school board members are still holding virtual meetings?” — Lev Johnson

“CPS hasn’t explained how they would handle [things] if a child or staff member tests positive for COVID. Will they inform all parents and staff? Will they deep-clean the school? If so, for how long? Also, why does the CPS CEO continue to do her meetings virtually, but it’s important to have the children and staff back in person in the buildings?” — Santos Aranda

“Should’ve opened all the schools in Illinois a long time ago.” — Matt O. Sterba

“When it’s safe for government staff to return to the office en masse, it will be safe to open CPS schools. Double standards.” — Colleen Curry

“I don’t agree with the teachers being forced to return and putting themselves and families in danger.” — Annette Jones

“I think they’re handling it very poorly!” — Whitney Hawkins

There is no easy way. Some will always be unhappy. The health of the children and staff should be first priority. This is a first, unknown pandemic, ever-changing” — Tina Johnson Lotarski

“Let the teachers decide they have to be in the buildings.” — Ryan Brage

“So the mayor extended the advisory stay-at-home order until the 22nd. But the board ordered the teachers back to the classroom, or they won’t get a paycheck. Where’s the logic?” — Mary Jilek Yung

“If I can go to my nonessential job, they can go to their essential job — with restrictions, of course.” — Regina Bell