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Chicago Teachers Union Accuses CPS Of Coming Up Short On COVID Testing During Winter Break

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago Public Schools officials are urging parents to get their children tested for COVID-19 before they return from winter break next week, but the Chicago Teachers Union is accusing the district of dropping the ball.

Classes resume for CPS on Monday, and the district is encouraging students and staff to test for COVID-19 before going back.

But the teachers' union said the district hasn't done enough to provide families with COVID tests, so they took matters into their own hands on Tuesday.

"We need more tests to be distributed. We need it to be easy for these parents to return these tests," said CTU recording secretary Christel Williams-Hayes.

That's exactly what why CTU members were at Park Manor Elementary School on Tuesday; to give COVID test kits to families who still need them.

"They had over half of their students out; having not been here to collect their tests," Williams-Hayes said.

The union has claimed 70% of students were in quarantine the week the district handed out 150,000 test kits to students and staff at 300 schools in communities hit hardest by the pandemic, including Park Manor.

CTU officials said, because so many students were not able to take home test kits, the union has to fill the gap.

"To hear that funds have been distributed at this school, nobody knows where they go," Williams-Hayes said.

Meantime, CPS is urging families who got the test kits to return them by the end of the day on Tuesday to make sure the tests are processed properly and in a timely manner before classes resume next week.

Students can drop off the samples Tuesday at the nearest FedEx drop box.

If a drop box is not an option, try these city libraries between noon at 5 p.m.

  • Englewood: Kelly Branch, 6151 S. Normal Blvd.
  • South Shore: South Shore Branch, 2505 E. 73rd St.
  • Auburn Gresham: Thurgood Marshall Branch, 7506 S. Racine Ave.
  • Southeast Side: Vodak-East Side Branch, 3710 E. 106th St.
  • Austin: Austin Branch, 5615 W. Race Ave.
  • Altgeld Gardens: Altgeld Branch, 933 E. 131st Place

Still, one parent told CBS 2 they would never have gotten the test kits in the first place if not for the teachers.

"They're providing us a service. They really are. They're providing us a service. They're looking out for our kids, because they love these kids," said Danelda Craig.

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