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Chicago students stage walkout, say COVID-19 protocols lacking

The walkout at schools across the city culminated outside district offices downtown, where the students waved signs, chanted and briefly blocked traffic.

January 15, 2022 / 09:53 AM IST
First grade teacher Megan Garner-Jones teaches students participating remotely and in person during the coronavirus outbreak at School 16 in Yonkers, New York. (Representative Image: AP)

First grade teacher Megan Garner-Jones teaches students participating remotely and in person during the coronavirus outbreak at School 16 in Yonkers, New York. (Representative Image: AP)

Hundreds of Chicago students staged a walkout Friday, saying there weren't enough precautions in place to protect them from COVID-19 despite an agreement between the teachers union and school district to return to classrooms.

The walkout at schools across the city culminated outside district offices downtown, where the students waved signs, chanted and briefly blocked traffic.

Hey, hey, ho, ho, Lori Lightfoots got to go, they said, a reference to the Chicago mayor.

The union voted last week to switch to remote instruction due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and what they said were insufficient safety measures. Administrators in the nations third-largest school district canceled classes for five days as a result. Lightfoot insisted in-person instruction was best for students and called the unions action an illegal work stoppage.

In-person classes resumed Wednesday after an agreement on a safety plan that includes metrics to shut down individual schools during outbreaks and expanded testing.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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While masks are required inside schools, the protesters said some students don't have masks or wear them inconsistently. They also want better access to COVID-19 testing and technology for remote learning.

We want online schooling and the ability to be kept safe … while were trying to get an education, student Jaden Horton said.
Associated Press
first published: Jan 15, 2022 09:53 am

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