Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Chicago Teachers Are Locked Out After Voting for Remote Learning, Refusing to Enter Unsafe Classrooms

Amidst a massive coronavirus surge, Chicago public school teachers voted to return to classes remotely following winter break. Instead Mayor Lightfoot and the district cancelled all classes in a clear confrontation with the city’s teachers and threatened to place all teachers who don’t return by Wednesday on “no pay” status.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

January 5, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Signs outside of a Chicago public school in support of teachers

On Tuesday evening, 73 percent of Chicago teachers voted to return from winter break with remote learning until schools could be opened safely amidst the Omicron surge. 

Instead, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the district decided to close all Chicago schools, openly seeking confrontation with Chicago’s teachers. Lightfoot also claimed that teachers who don’t go to work on Wednesday will be placed on “no pay” status. This morning, teachers were locked out of their google classrooms and denied the ability to teach remotely.

This comes as Omicron surges around the country and chaotic and unsafe re-openings become the norm. The United States hit over 1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases yesterday — the highest daily record of any country throughout the pandemic. In this context, there is bipartisan consensus to re-open schools, one way or another. 

Chicago teachers really aren’t demanding much. The CTU has called for:

Even without the mass testing protocols demanded by the CTU, on Monday 5,700 CPS students and 1,900 staff or administrators were in quarantine due to Covid.

The district’s counter-proposal would be laughable if it wasn’t so unsafe. They have stated that schools would go remote if 40 percent of its classroom teachers are absent for two consecutive days because of infection AND the school-wide teacher absence rate because of infection is 30 percent or higher with the use of substitutes or internal staff. That means that nearly every classroom will be overcrowded and nearly every teacher will need to do the work of two teachers.

At the elementary school level, online learning will be used if half of its classrooms are missing at least half of their students because they are in quarantine or isolation. At the high school level, online learning will be used if half of the student body is quarantining.

It’s clear that this has nothing to do with student wellness. There is no way for students to learn in those unsafe conditions. And if this was about the students, Lori Lightfoot wouldn’t lock teachers out of their remote classrooms. It has to do with keeping the economy and forcing workers back to work in unsafe conditions and thus, needing children to be taken care of and out of the house. 

CTU leader Jesse Sharkey explained that “The teachers are being put in the unfortunate situation where we’re trying to keep people safe. We’re trying to run school, and we’re not being given the tools to do it.” 

The school district is going to do anything and everything in its power to demonize teachers and pit families against teachers. After all, parents are struggling to juggle work, childcare, and schooling in the midst of a pandemic.  

It’s terrible that kids are being kept out of schools, that they don’t get to learn and play and explore because of a nearly two year long pandemic that has stolen the childhood and teenage years of a generation. But we must be clear: teachers, students and staff deserve safe schools. The school closures are the fault of the district, which refuses to give in to entirely reasonable demands and of the Biden administration, which has been pushing unsafe school reopenings and “back to normal” policy in the midst of a massive covid surge.

Solidarity with Chicago teachers.

Facebook Twitter Share

Tatiana Cozzarelli

Tatiana is a former middle school teacher and current Urban Education PhD student at CUNY.

Labor Movement

Dock workers march holding red flags and wearing yellow and orange construction vests.

Germany: The Port Strike and the Fight Against Inflation Pose the Question of Strategy

Striking dockworkers at ports in northern Germany are spearheading the fight against inflation. What strategy is needed to lead them to victory? The answer resonates with impending battles in the United States.

Stefan Schneider

July 31, 2022

Healthcare Profits: Montefiore Hospital Closes Bronx Center while Opening Boutique Clinic in Manhattan

Montefiore Hospital System is set to close a primary care center in the Bronx and open a boutique clinic in Manhattan, and healthcare workers are fighting back. We need a healthcare system controlled by workers and patients — not bosses.

Mike Pappas

July 28, 2022

Petition to Stop Closure of Family Health Center: Displacement and Discrimination at Montefiore

The Montefiore hospital system recently announced it plans to close its Family Health Center located at 1 Fordham Plaza. Below we are republishing a statement written by those organizing against this plan.

Left Voice

July 28, 2022

Over 150 People at a Rally to Demand Starbucks on Reinstate Austin

On Friday, July 22, a rally was organized against Starbucks union busting in front of the Starbucks at Ditmars Blvd and 31st Street in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens. People rallied to reinstate Austin, who was unjustly fired and against all firings of unionizing workers.

Luigi Morris

July 26, 2022


Gaza and Al-Aqsa Under Attack in Latest Zionist Israeli Military Onslaught

Over the weekend, the Gaza Strip was attacked by Zionist Israeli military forces and Al-Aqsa Mosque was stormed by ultra-nationalists. We need international solidarity in the streets for Palestine, demanding that not a penny more of imperialist governments’ money go to Israel.

Emma Lee

August 8, 2022
A slightly blurry photo of a crowd of people all raising their fists.

Subalterns, Postcolonialists, and the Specter of Capital: A Polemic from Marxism

The theories of the “postcolonialists” condemn us to the mere repetition of local resistance with no way out of the brutal plundering of people by imperialism, multiple repressions, and exploitation. The socialist strategy is a tool to eradicate the society based on this brutality.

NYPD Violently Arrest 5 Abortion Rights Activists at a Clinic Defense

On Saturday, five people were violently arrested protecting abortion access in NYC, while NYPD protected anti-choicers attempting to harass patients.

Molly Rosenzweig

August 6, 2022
Brazilan President Jair Bolsonaro, seen in Brasilia, Brazil in April.

Against Bolsonaro’s Coup and Reforms — For Demonstrations and Strikes without Bankers and Businessmen

Left Voice’s co-thinkers in Brazil answer a cynical class-collaborationist effort to channel Brazil’s working-class discontent into the election campaign of Lula’s Broad Front ticket. The latter represents the interests of the bourgeoisie and bosses who are tired of Bolsonaro and his threats of a coup should he lose his reelection bid.