In addition to staff members who don’t trust the district to implement COVID-19 precautions and are refusing to report to buildings they believe are unsafe, the district has had to deal with coronavirus cases, quarantines and failed health screens.
The number of failed employee health screens dipped below 200 on Wednesday for the first time since staff returned on Jan. 4. Cumulatively, 2,240 health screen have been failed since then, but data provided by CPS does not make clear how much that reflects those who’ve failed multiple times.
CPS has also acknowledged a “potential cluster”at McCutcheon Elementary, where two cases have been reported among staff members and another eight are under quarantine.
The first employee was last at school Jan. 7 and notified the district of a positive COVID-19 test the next day, according to CPS. Over the weekend, contact tracers identified and notified close contacts, asking six staff members to quarantine, CPS said. The second case, confirmed Wednesday, involved one of those close contacts, who did not report to school Monday. Contact tracers identified two close contacts of the second case who were not also contacts of the first case and asked them to quarantine as well.
“Because of the protocols in place, which are designed to prevent spread, all close contacts were told to quarantine for 14 days,” CPS spokeswoman Emily Bolton said in a statement. “While the district cannot rule out the possibility of in-school transmission, it also cannot rule out the possibility that these cases were acquired in the community, outside of school.”
The Chicago Teachers Union, however, does not think the district has handled the cases well.
“In the midst of a COVID outbreak that surfaced last Friday, four days after CPS began forcing pre-K and special education cluster teachers back into buildings, educators at McCutcheon Elementary report that the school is in chaos,” the CTU claimed in a news release Thursday. “Most teachers who had reported to work last week are now in quarantine, leaving just one educator in the building. CPS waited until Sunday evening to notify educators, and didn’t tell parents about the outbreak until yesterday afternoon.”