Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wanted Chicago Public School teachers to finally come back to work on Monday and, you know, actually do their jobs. But the Chicago Teachers Union, which continues to oppose the reopening of in-person instruction despite the fact that most of the country is doing it safely, balked at the proposal and kept teachers home. Now the union and the school district is in open conflict, with both sides casting aspersions at the other.
Teachers now say they will not go back to the classroom until and unless every teacher has the opportunity to get vaccinated; the union is also demanding that all teachers who live with vulnerable individuals should be allowed to stay virtual until COVID is no longer a threat. Lightfoot said initially that these teachers would be held responsible for their unexcused absences and potentially face the loss of their jobs. But this week, she consented to further negotiations with the union.
And on Tuesday, she revealed that she’d discovered the real scapegoat in all of this: Not her teachers, not the union, and certainly not her own leadership. Oh no, the real person to blame is (who else?) Donald Trump.
“Lightfoot didn’t invoke the name of the nation’s 45th president but she suggested the ongoing impasse between Chicago Public Schools and CTU, over whether it is safe to return to in-person instruction as early as Thursday, stems from the failed vaccine rollout under former President Donald Trump,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
“This is a very difficult situation and we’re in it, still, because of the incompetence of the previous administration,” Lightfoot said. “So I think it’s important for both sides to come to the table in good faith, recognize that we’re both trying to work through a very challenging situation but we must get a deal done.”
Of course, the “incompetence of the previous administration” doesn’t quite explain why Illinois has vaccinated a lower percentage of their population than nearly every other state in the nation.
After the non sequitur about Trump, Lightfoot went on to guarantee that the schools are perfectly safe.
“Let me be very clear: Our schools are safe. We’ve invested over $100 million in ventilation, other safety protocols, making sure that we have masks, safety health screening, temperature checks — all the things that you would expect that the CDC guidance has told us that we know makes sense to mitigate any issues in schools,” Lightfoot said. “We’ve looked at and followed every study across the globe, including here in Chicago, by our local experts.”