Chicago union says city school’s COVID tracker inaccurate

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Teachers Union raised questions Thursday about safety and transparency in the nation’s third-largest school district, saying an online database tracking COVID-19 cases is inaccurate.

Chicago Public Schools reported 160 cases among adults and children on Wednesday, an increase from 39 the week before when in-person classes began for roughly 350,000 students. The tracker also shows the number of people who need to quarantine because they were in “close contact” with an infected person.

The union said the data doesn’t match reports from teachers and families while the Chicago Tribune showed lags in reporting. The claims come amid ongoing negotiations over pandemic safety protocols.

“Our school communities need trust, truth, transparency and leadership from the mayor and her team at CPS,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement. “Instead, they continue to stonewall educators, parents and the public about safety issues in a pandemic.”

The district and Chicago Department of Public Health issued a joint statement earlier this week on reporting practices.

“The public tracker is not currently set up to report on dynamic numbers, meaning, how many people are quarantined at a given time. The tracker represents one point in time,” the statement read. “Some who are quarantined initially are no longer in quarantine after the investigation is complete and they are found to be vaccinated. This is not reflected in the tracker.”