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CHICAGO (CBS) — Some Chicago Public Schools students plan to walk out of classes on Friday, protesting the decision to resume in-person learning after the district reached a COVID-19 safety agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union.

Students organizing the walkout said they were not asked to contribute to discussions about their academic and personal needs in order to feel safe going back to in-person classes during the Omicron surge of the pandemic.

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The Chicago Public Schools Radical Youth Alliance, or Chi-Rads, organized the walkout, which will begin at 12:30 p.m., and include a 1:30 p.m. press conference at CPS headquarters.

“Young people have never been included meaningfully in any conversation around safety during the pandemic,” organizers said in a news release announcing the walkout. “District leaders, administrators, elected officials consistently make decisions about our safety, assuming they know what we need when they do not. Adultism ran rampant in CPS before the pandemic and has only gotten worse, imposing a major divide between students & the care CPS is obligated to provide. Despite our bodies being on the line in unsafe conditions, we are pushed to the back of these conversations.”

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Some of the things they are demanding include improved contact tracing, prohibiting fans at sporting events, and providing one full-time therapist for every 30 students.

“The failures of this system have the greatest impact on our lives. Young people should not settle for the bare minimum or for anything less than what our communities deserve. Young people are standing up on Friday to refuse to allow the current conditions of our schools and the lack of COVID-19 safety protocols to continue. We stand with ourselves, our own safety, and our own health. We keep us safe, we keep us loved,” organizers said.

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See below for the full list of demands:

  • CPS should fund support outside of our academia. There are many aspects of our everyday lives that hinder certain students from receiving quality education from inequitable structures and oppressive systems within the city. CPS, as a entity, should recognize the rights that they guarantee to all students and put in practice by implementing the following: 
  • Coat, food, and resource drives/Mutual Aid Projects.
  • Fully funded CTA to all students.
  • Reload EBT cards.
  • One full-time therapist/psychologist for every 30 students.
  • Maintaining building upkeep and quality facilities (HVAC, plumbing, cleaning, hot water). To hold schools accountable to this, there should be quality health and inspection checks done by a new CPS office of maintenance. All schools asking for support in any areas regarding their facilities should get full funding for it. 
  • Much like Covid Relief packages, students should receive covid relief stipends to help cover the necessities that families are going through during these times beyond food. Many families are living paycheck to paycheck and this pandemic affects people’s ability to work; that, unfortunately, affects our ability to live. 
  • Understanding how this pandemic is affecting our ability to learn CPS should fund the following:
  • Providing every student with their own personal laptop. Ensuring that it comes with the latest version of whatever operating system they run, portable (12-14 inches), 4GB RAM, 512GB storage, and at least 8 hours of battery life. Students should be able to keep it during their entire duration as students, virtual or not. With access to high speed wifi, that has at least 10 Mbps of download speed and 1 Mbps of upload speed. 
  • Personal tutors outside of school hours in every school. 
  • Fully funding all the supports of any music and art program in schools.
  • Social emotional learning (implement time for breaks and fund outdoor spaces/green spaces).
  • Fund student-executed and -centered organizing projects (food pantries, mutual aid projects, clubs, and other community oriented initiatives).
  • There needs to be measures taking place in order to stop the spread in physical spaces. This needs to be validated by every school’s administration and “Peer pod (teams of teachers, students, and parents).” What it’ll look like is CPS would provide:
  • The antigen test provided by Governor Pritzker for Chicago Public School to be accessible in every school, every day. We would like to add that these should be distributed to our communities that are most disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic that so coincidentally happens to be our black and brown communities on the south and west sides. 
  • A sustainable and efficient contact tracing system that considers where infected students are in all parts of their day (with the help of student and school community input; meaning people within school communities know best about their peers and people who they coexist with).
  • Free vaccines and education around vaccination for skeptical and non-native English speaking parents. Also, creating vaccine centers at schools and providing education around COVID.  
  • Sufficient N-95 masks along with the other face coverings PPE & medical grade masks, as data has proven that cloth masks do not prevent the spread of the Omnicron Variant.
  • Wipes in every room, hand sanitizer, hand washing stations, and working air ventilation machines.
  • Increasing remote workforce for staff members and students whose presence isn’t necessary in the building, ensuring that they are engaged with school affairs virtually through funding all necessary software.
  • Hiring extra staff to support separate students’ instruction into smaller cohorts. The more adult support that is in a school creates accessibility for social distancing and the downsizing of class sizes, but also gives us students more one-on-one individual time with our teachers. This kind of support helps build human connection/ relationships within our school communities that benefit the nourishment of our minds, bodies, and spirits. Adding a process where students have the option to be assigned to someone in their school community to check-in everyday.
  • Teachers play an essential role in the process of learning. They don’t deserve to have to put their work over their health. There wouldn’t be a teacher who would inherently hinder the education of any students since their entire profession is to ensure that students are educated, cared for, and loved. In order to teach they must think of students’ best interest. CPS should allow:
  • Teachers will be able to choose if they want to teach virtual or in the building… (elaborate on care and open to options)
  • Take a leave of absence regarding concerns of Covid.
  • Abolishment of threats of no pay status, CPS should never have the ability to.
  • Give time for staff to prepare for the proposed plan before students return to school.
  • Additional substitutes.
  • Offer spaces of healing and community building.
  • As of right now winter sports are ending and spring sports are just conditioning. It’s a dwindling of activities but if some should occur, CPS should allow them to. Students need to engage with peers during this time, they can meet in person or in virtual spaces. People should be able to still engage with things that keep us going, our interest outside of academia, our hobbies. While considering everything that’s happening all the time it should look different:
  • Moving to larger unoccupied classrooms and spaces inside the school
  • Small cohorts of groups up to 15 
  • No spectators for sports
  • Fully masked 
  • Vaccine required
  • Contact tracing
  • There is no blanket plan that will work for every school and every student. To try to make one would deny some group, it’s inevitable. The schools should have their own ability to create plans that work best for their environment and their students. Every school should have a peer pod task force that makes up members of the school body, including teachers, staff, students, parents, and administration to create the school’s specific Covid Response Plan. The aspects of school that should be considered is:
  • The way the building should be used and occupied (adding additional supports of childcare, open space for students who don’t want to be at home, additional space for distancing during times of no instruction)
  • Shift of scheduling and class times that works better during these times
  • Creating teams of peer/teacher support, where classmates openly can communicate the individual needs of peers and at the same time, these needs can be communicated to school administrators
  • Restorative practices 
  • Extra supports needed that CPS need to provide 
  • Community building 
  • News Source: cbslocal.com

    Tags: chicago news investigative chicago public schools chicago teachers union covid 19 omicron variant walkout chicago news investigative chicago public schools to in person classes community building during these times school communities should be able school community communities education around in the building to all students students organizers said in every school our communities contact tracing students our ability and providing every student people this pandemic people the following their entire families every school the pandemic young people schools in order funding all supports engage the chicago needs to be the walkout about their in order

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    Fact check: Jim Acosta’s CNN special didn’t reach ‘millions and millions’ of people despite on-air claim

    A CNN guest peddled misinformation to viewers on Monday when he falsely claimed the liberal network was "broadcasting to millions and millions of people" during Jim Acosta’s special that didn’t even crack 600,000 viewers. 

    The ratings-challenged network has experimented with different options at 9 p.m. since it was forced to terminate Chris Cuomo last year. This week, Acosta is occupying the time slot with a special, "Democracy in Peril," and the former White House reporter invited Democratic lawyer Marc Elias onto the program to discuss reforming the electoral count and other voting right legislation. Elias, an avid CNN watcher, flattered the network with misleading numbers during the segment.

    CNN’s Jim Acosta didn’t correct a false claim by Democratic lawyer Marc Elias. (CNN screenshot )

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    "I’m an optimist about this because I think that if everyone stands up in their town square, you know, you have a great town square," Elias told Acosta. "You’re broadcasting to millions and millions of people." 

    However CNN, which recently dispatched its chief media critic to New York City schools to warn against the dangers of misinformation, has struggled to attract a primetime audience during the Biden era. 

    Acosta’s special on Monday managed only 511,000 viewers, a far cry from the "millions and millions" that Elias claimed were tuning in. The previous week, when Brianna Keilar filled in at 9 p.m. and hosted a special also titled, "Democracy in Peril," CNN averaged only 555,000 average viewers. The network went extended periods of 2021 failing to reach even one million average viewers and settled for an average audience of only 783,000 last year. 

    Acosta, who declared Monday he still had "marks on my back" from his time covering former-President trump, was unable to correct Elias' misinformation, as he didn't know the size of his audience in real time.

    Jim Acosta’s CNN special on Monday managed only 511,000 viewers. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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    During the same time period that Acosta managed only 511,00 viewers on Monday, Fox News Channel's "Hannity" drew nearly three million and MSNBC’s "The Rachel Maddow Show" attracted 2.4 million. 

    Monday’s edition of "Democracy in Peril" on CNN had a smaller audience than repeats of "Friends," "The Andy Griffith Show," "Everybody Loves Raymond," and other programs such as History’s "Ancient Aliens," Investigation Discovery’s Web of Lies," Bravo’s "Summer House" and ESPN’s "SportsCenter AM." 

    Elias has represented Democratic organizations in several cases in which they challenged election laws in several states ahead of 2020's election. Elias also drew notoriety for his involvement with the Democratic Nationla Committee and Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and his role in hiring research firm Fusion GPS, who in turn hired former British spy Christopher Steele to conduct opposition research that produced the now-discredited dossier on alleged Trump collusion with Russia. 

    Attorney Marc Elias before the hearing for his lawsuit against Arizona over voting rights. Elias was the general counsel for the Hillary Clinton campaign. (Photo by David Jolkovski for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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    Elias has given grand jury testimony in the John Durham investigation into the origins of the sprawling Russia investigation. Acosta, whose network devoted thousands of hours to the probe that directly concerned democracy and the 2016 election, didn't ask Elias about his testimony.

    Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report. 

    Brian Flood is a media reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to brian.flood@fox.com and on Twitter: @briansflood. 

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