Illinois Federation of Teachers launches statewide COVID-19 tracker


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Illinois Federation of Teachers announced Tuesday the launched of a statewide COVID-19 tracker intended to identify hot spots and how well schools are doing.

During the pandemic, the IFT has prioritized keeping teachers, students, and their families safe by releasing guidance on reopening schools and calling on the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish and enforce clear metrics for schools to guide them for any future closures.

The new interactive website is designed to help track coronavirus-related health and safety concerns in real time for schools and campuses across the state.

"The information can be valuable when it is used by our unions, our members, our communities, our compare and contrast conditions, inform elected officials, and lastly, pressure their employers," said an IFT rep in an online tutorial.

The IFT COVID Tracker helps to gather that data by crowdsourcing reports of health and safety violations and concerns identified by staff members, parents, and community members. The site includes a mapping tool that shows district-by-district information reported to the IFT to help easily identify issues in each area. The IFT COVID Tracker will also show all school-related outbreaks as reported on the IDPH COVID-19 School Outbreaks dashboard. The data will help our unions draw comparisons between various areas and identify any potential “hot spots.”

“Some employers are working closely with their local unions to prioritize health and safety for employees and students, but others are ignoring the science and our members’ voices in important conversations about reopening,” said IFT President Dan Montgomery. “The IFT COVID Tracker gives our members and the community a place to report issues and concerns so we have a central source of data about school and campus safety that we can point to as we work to develop local agreements surrounding safety issues.”

Members are encouraged to submit reports of cases or unsafe conditions in their workplaces on the website’s homepage by clicking “Submit a Report.” All reports submitted will be reviewed and the identity of submitters will remain anonymous. Members are also urged to share their personal stories and concerns about safety via the site.

Similar websites are being used effectively by the Chicago Teachers Union and AFT unions in Massachusetts and Texas to identify safety issues.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe at work,” added Montgomery. “And kids and parents deserve to learn safely. The new IFT COVID Tracker provides us with another tool in our fight for healthy schools by raising awareness of safety issues and collecting data we can use to hold employers accountable and keep elected officials and the public informed.”

You can find the COVID tracker on the Illinois Federation of Teachers’ website.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Illinois Federation of Teachers