“This should have never happened. Every time there is an increase in COVID-19 cases or a surge in Chicago, parents are on edge of whether or not [the Chicago Teachers Union] is going to strike.”

“There are other ways to keep our kids safe without shutting the entire school system down.”

“I have two daughters in [Chicago Public Schools]. Our kindergartner has been in therapy since she was two years old, and we knew we wanted her to go to a CPS school right away. CPS offers great services for children who have an individualized education plan, so getting her enrolled was very important. Once COVID-19 started, however, all of her assistance was basically removed.”

“She sees an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a social worker weekly and then she has a teacher’s aide to help her focus. You can’t do occupational and speech therapy remotely. It’s just too difficult. So she just loses services, putting her farther behind.”

“We understand the fears that many families have about COVID-19. At the beginning of the pandemic, my grandfather had just celebrated his 100th birthday and died within a week of getting COVID-19. At one point, six family members were hospitalized with COVID-19. So we were also scared at the beginning of the pandemic regarding in-person learning.”

“But for our family, at this point, we feel more comfortable sending our children to school.”

“One thing I can say about CPS is there is a dramatic improvement with in-person learning. When we are forced to conduct remote learning, she regresses. She’s suffering, and she will frequently ask us, ‘Why can’t I go to school?’ That’s so hard as a parent because she’s too young to understand.”

“And my other daughter hasn’t had a normal school year since kindergarten. When this started, she cried every day from the frustration of having to learn to type and use a computer as a first grader. She’s a third grader now, but those frustrations never really go away.”

“Personally, I think that from what I’ve read and from what I discussed with the teachers and principal, I think the schools have done a pretty good job of keeping the children safe in school during COVID. I think that it’s unreasonable to think that children are not going to get sick. Pre-COVID-19 children got sick, post-COVID-19 children are going to get sick.”

“We understood the need to get vaccinated, and we’ve done everything we were supposed to do on our end. These two years of COVID-19 with remote learning have led to an accumulation of frustrations.”

“Our main concern is that our child has special needs that require therapy, and she’s doesn’t get those services when teachers strike.”

“Our children are young, and they need that schedule, that structure which is impossible to maintain under a constant fear or reality that schools could close at any time.”

“Obviously, we’re angry at the Chicago Teachers Union. They try to make the argument regarding safety, or point fingers at the city, but in reality, the real problem is the union telling its members not to work.”

“We mothers were desperate to get our kids back in school, and we tried. We banded together to figure out what to do. We considered writing nice letters to the teachers at our school. ‘Can you please come in to work? Can you do it for the kids? What can we do as parents?’”

“We tried speaking to the teachers at our local school to see if we could convince them to come in against union demands, but we found that it was really the union keeping them from teaching.”

“We have had COVID-19 all of us, and we did what we were supposed to do. We quarantined, and we got better. But that’s no reason that our daughter should go without her services indefinitely every time the union leadership feels they need to strike.”

“The union can literally hold our children hostage.”

“We’re all thrilled they’ve come to an agreement, especially my children, but we haven’t yet received the details of their agreement such as make-up days, etc.”

“My hope is this is the last of the strikes. I don’t know how many more my children can handle.”

Ashley Muzzillo
Operations manager
Chicago, Illinois