OP-ED: Returning to School in the Fall Isn’t Safe Without a Vaccine

Chicago Public Schools proposed a tentative plan for students to return to in-person instruction in the Fall that gives parents an option to opt-out if they have concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Under the framework released by CPS, students would attend classes for two days and remotely the remaining three days. Students would be placed in pods of 10-15 students with assigned arrival and dismissal locations, and eat lunch where permitted inside the classroom. Students would also be assigned which two days they would attend to limit the number of students inside CPS facilities at one time.

This new framework comes as CPS attempts to return its students to some sense of normalcy in the Fall while trying to prevent further spread of the virus. As an employee of Chicago Public Schools, this sounds good in theory.  However, is this a genuinely feasible plan? CPS states that they have put stringent cleaning and sanitation measures in place for all of its buildings and that PPE equipment will be available daily for all students, but will that be enough to keep everyone safe?

For CPS employees like myself who work with Preschool children ages 3-5, how are we supposed to ensure they maintain 6 feet from us and one another? How are we supposed to explain a pod to them? Preschool children are explorers, exploring everything and everyone around them. It’s how they learn and develop critical thinking and social-emotional skills. Exactly how does one explore inside a pod? Before the pandemic hit handwashing was a skill most struggled with remembering, so how are we supposed to drive the dire importance of it to them now from inside of a pod? I can tell you now that ten preschoolers kept inside a pod will be utter chaos and a COVID-19 Petri dish filled with sneezes, dirty hands, and soiled masks. If the masks even stay on past the first 5 minutes of class.

The same can be said for Kindergarten and 1st grade. This type of hybrid learning isn’t possible in primary grades and will also be a struggle for intermediate and middle school. I understand that everyone wants things to return to normal, but the normal we once knew is no longer. It is not worth the health of our children and school staff to push some political agenda. If CPS follows this model, there will be a massive spike in new Corona Virus cases, and our children will bear the brunt of it. Please understand that we miss our students. We miss their smiling faces. We miss talking with them face to face every day. We want to return to them, but we want it to be safe to do so. For them, for us, and our country.

Paula J. Shelton is a freelance writer living in Chicago. Follow her on social @beboldshineon.

The post OP-ED: Returning to School in the Fall Isn’t Safe Without a Vaccine. appeared first on Chicago Defender.

Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top