Westmont -- Illinois Federations of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery released the following statement after Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the closing of Illinois’ schools because of COVID-19 concerns:
“We support Governor Pritzker’s decision to close Illinois schools to prevent further spread of COVID-19. This is an historic and difficult decision, but it is the responsible action to ensure the health of our students, faculty, staff, and communities. “Teachers are creating learning opportunities to keep children engaged and minimize any learning loss, but COVID-19 has revealed deeper issues that need to be addressed. The austerity budgeting of the last years is coming home to roost and now we are paying a public health price. We must learn from this. About how to better protect our teachers, staff, and students by providing paid sick leave and a nurse at every school – which is a public health issue, not just a moral one. Bridging the digital divide so that e-learning can be fully incorporated at all our schools has to be another top priority. “The IFT will continue to monitor the situation and work with the governor’s office and help locals work with their schools’ districts to support students in every way.”
The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.