At least 1 in 12 Chicago Public Schools students caught COVID-19 during past school year

Lisa R. Parker
A pre-kindergarten teacher reads a story to her students at Dawes Elementary in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. [AP Photo/Pool, Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times]

With the school year now concluded, official Chicago Public Schools (CPS) numbers indicate at least 1 in 12 students caught COVID-19 during the 2021-2022 school year. These figures, staggering as they are, no doubt severely understate the real rate of infection among CPS students, teachers and other school workers, to say nothing of their contribution to disease spread, hospitalizations and deaths in the wider community.

This outcome is an indictment of the ruling class’s mass infection policy and the role of the unions, above all the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), and its pseudo-left CORE(“Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators”) leadership in enforcing the unsafe reopening of schools during the pandemic.

According to the official CPS tracker, 22,568 students reported infections between August 29, 2021 and June 15, 2022, out of 272,000 students enrolled at regular district schools. This figure does not include infections among the 58,000 students enrolled at charter, contract or alternative learning schools. Nor does it include infection numbers for CPS workers or other adults, of which there were 9,477 officially reported.

Cases of COVID-19 among educators and students at CPS exploded toward the end of the school year following the abandonment of any pretense at mitigating spread, such as mandatory masking, in schools or the broader society. The last full week of the school year saw 901 students infected along with 469 adults. This is almost twice the number of students who were officially infected in the entire period from March 20, 2020, to August 28, 2021.

The week which ended May 14 recorded 730 cases among adults and 1,946 among students, with the latter number higher than any other week during the entire pandemic, including during the January Omicron surge. Although officially numbers for the following weeks dropped slightly, it is a near certainty the number of cases among students and CPS workers is much higher than what was officially recorded. As a result of the constant stream of lies proclaiming the pandemic over and the decreased emphasis on testing and tracking, many cases, especially asymptomatic ones, are being ignored even though community spread continues to be high.

Beyond CPS, Chicago is now seeing 222 new official cases per day and a near doubling of the positivity rate to 10.8 percent since last week.

There is no doubt CPS is continuing their aggressive behind-the-scenes effort to suppress and cover up the numbers as much as possible. Additionally, CPS has refused to report deaths among either students or educators, such as Jonl Bush, a special education classroom assistant, who died last November. CPS’ contact tracing has been purposely inadequate, and officials have refused to track how schools have contributed to hospitalizations and deaths among family members or the broader community, even though Chicago has seen a cumulative 43,206 hospitalizations and 7,728 deaths from COVID-19.

An untold number of students, their families, and school workers are also now grappling with debilitating symptoms of Long COVID and are at greater risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events due to their infections. Studies have found that 30 percent or more of infections are followed by Long COVID syndrome, including among children.

The January remote work job action by Chicago educators

The horrific toll of COVID in CPS just within the last school year is a damning indictment of the catastrophic and profit-driven policies pursued by the Biden administration and the Democratic Party, with the support of the teacher unions.

The White House responded to the emergence of the Omicron variant last fall by abandoning even the inadequate “mitigation” strategy and adopting the deadly “herd immunity” policies of the previous Trump administration.

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