Hundreds of students from Chicago left the classrooms on Friday because in their opinion not enough precautions have been taken to protect them from the COVID-19, despite an agreement between the teachers’ union and the school district to resume classes.
The protest at schools across the city culminated outside the school district offices downtown, where students they waved signs, chanted slogans and briefly blocked traffic.
Ya ya ya, yes yes yes, Lori Lightfoot, you have to go,” the students said, referring to the mayor of Chicago.
The union approved last week to switch to distance learning due to an increase in cases of COVID-19 and what they described as insufficient preventive measures. As a result, authorities in the country’s third-largest school district canceled classes for five days.
Lightfoot insisted that face-to-face teaching was in the best interest of students, calling the union’s actions an illegal work stoppage.
In-person classes resumed Wednesday after safety measures were approved that include guidelines for individual school closures during outbreaks and more diagnostic tests.
Although the use of masks inside schools is mandatory, protesters said some students do not wear them or do so irregularly.
They also want better access to diagnostic tests and distance learning technology. “We want online learning and to be able to keep us safe…while we’re trying to get an education,” said student Jaden Horton.