“The strike just disrupts everything because you’re ripping schedules out from children who are used to a defined structure. And it’s created a panic for me, because I’m brought back to that moment of the hell that was the pandemic and remote learning, with two special needs children and being all stuck together in one location for extended periods of time, trying to not lose our grip on reality. I’m sure everyone can relate.”

“We were really excited to go back to school. My oldest daughter, she’s in her senior year in CPS, and she got into Penn State, which is a huge deal for our family. My middle two, in sixth and third grade, are on Individualized Education Plans, and are still over a year behind due to the school closures. Remote learning is dreadful for children with special needs. It’s so difficult to catch them up. My youngest in pre-K is doing really well so far in school. They need to be in a classroom.”

“It’s a lot of vulnerability to say it, but this is mentally rough. And I don’t want to go back to how we were in 2020.”

“I’m going to live my life as normal. There’s nothing wrong with any of my kids. And everyone is going to the grocery store or to Costco. We will probably go to the arcade or go to a museum if it’s open. The Catholic school is open down the street from me and the parking lots are full, so it doesn’t make sense that our public schools are closed.”

“I’m on our school board, and I have very close relationships with the three Chicago Public Schools my children attend. I’ve been to a lot of meetings with my schools and done a lot of advocacy for my children. The teachers are in my community. They know me personally. They’re not going to a place that’s going to harm my children. They’ll be well taken care of. They’ve always been well taken care of, so I feel comfortable sending my children to school.”

“I have full trust if they’re doing what they say they’re going to do. At my schools, most of the teachers are vaccinated, my children are vaccinated, and the schools are following masking and distancing protocols, so I feel safe sending my kids to school. I’m very upset by the current situation with the Chicago Teachers Union.”

“My middle daughter, Olivia, had COVID in the summer of last year, and we spent about a week in the hospital. So I do know what it’s like and what it does, but I don’t think it’s enough to keep her from her education. The social, emotional, and educational damage to my kids from being out of school is far greater in my opinion, than them attending school in-person.”

“I received an email from my daughter’s pre-K principal that if 65% of staff are willing to show up to school, she will be able to attend enrichment classes on Monday. Yet, my other children’s schools have many CTU teachers self-reporting COVID and staying home. So hopefully, I’ll have one child in classes Monday, but as for the other three, it depends on how strong the union presence is at their schools.”

Sarah Sachen
Mother
Chicago, Illinois