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Chicago students stage walkout, say COVID protocols lacking

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NBC News reports pediatricians in the United States are alarmed at the slow pace in which young children are receiving a coronavirus vaccine. 

CHICAGO — Hundreds of students staged a walkout at Chicago Public Schools Friday, saying there aren't enough precautions in place to protect people from COVID-19 despite an agreement between the teachers union and district to return to classrooms.

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

While masks are required inside Chicago schools, the protesters said some students don't have masks or wear them inconsistently. They also asked for better access to COVID testing and technology for remote learning. A group that organized the walkout said students should have had a voice during negotiations between the district and the Chicago Teachers Union during the recent standoff.

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The union voted last week to switch to remote instruction due to an increase in COVID cases and what they said was insufficient safety measures. Administrators in the nation's third-largest district canceled classes for five days, with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot insisting in-person instruction was best for students and calling the union's 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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