Written: May 3rd, 2020
DON’T USE A ONE SIZE FITS ALL APPROACH for this pandemic! Here are actions that schools districts and the city should take immediately in Chicago & other places:
1) A bunch of schools and especially students in residential facilities still need computers. Prioritize schools in impoverished neighborhoods like Englewood and Austin first. Also, students with IEPs should receive computers first.
2) They need to do wellness checks on at risk students and families. Community organizations in Austin found multiple houses where the parent was dead and the kids or babies were sitting there with dead bodies for days.
3) They need to use all the buses and park them in poor neighborhoods with free wifi hubs on them. School districts have successfully done this in other states. 33-50% of our students have no WiFi.
4) They should provide more professional development and instructions to teachers on how to talk with parents on sharing financial resources, mental health supports, etc.
5) They need more instruction on how to create SEL lessons. Making sure students are safe emotionally, financially, etc, should take priority. No student should fail. Period. This is a crisis.
6)They need to provide proper training to clinicians on security/privacy during a pandemic and how to do tele-therapy.
7) They need to give consent tele-therapy sheets for families to sign, whose kids receive clinician services (many other districts have this document)
8) OODLS (Cps office of diverse learners) need to stop telling social workers and clinicians that they are not allowed to provide therapy or other services besides by email.
9) They need to tell all principals to not use a one sized fit all approach with divvying your kids and having a call once a week to their homes. They need more intensive supports and frequent calls for at risk students and black students. I’m lucky because I have an amazing school with a supportive administration and 1.5 social workers and multiple social work interns. Many schools are not that lucky.
10) They need to give schools specific instructions on how to support undocumented students and families.
11) They need to give teachers and staff specific training on how to support students whose family members die.
12) CPS should also provide a training or ask principals to provide trainings on how teachers and staff can reduce their stress, shared trauma and create boundaries so they don’t become burnt out.
13) We also need rent, mortgage and eviction freeze; individuals on an unaffordable money bond should be released immediately and no new people should be admitted to Cook County Jail on money bonds. Cook County should immediately release individuals over the age of 50 or who are in a high-risk population. People should be provided with income security; we need to close detention centers; stop ICE; provide free healthcare and carry out all the other essential demands listed by the #RightToRecovery coalition: