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Chicago Sun-Times Opinion This Week
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Chicago Public Schools on Wednesday rehired Aramark in a $369 million deal that leaves the Philadelphia-based company in charge of cleaning more than 600 school buildings for the next three years.
Aramark is the same company that oversaw janitorial services at a time when dozens of schools failed health inspections and were found to be filthy, with rat droppings, bugs and other problems, as Lauren FitzPatrick reported in 2018
CPS, in fact, promised last year to cut all ties with Aramark, and we’re still not sure why the district changed its mind. Whoever is in charge, this is the bottom line: No child or adult should go to school in anything but a clean building, the Editorial Board writes.
In Letters to the Editor, Erica Salem with the Respiratory Health Association echoed health concerns when it comes to school children with asthma. To turn around and re-engage with a private company that has been shown to put the health of these students at risk makes no sense. CPS can and should do better, Salem says.
Get ready to step into the Twilight Zone when columnist Phil Kadner writes about imagining a crazy world in which people are utterly stupid about vaccines and their own health. They listen to the likes of Tucker Carlson. They believe there is a higher power looking out for them, like Donald Trump. What we are living through is the stuff of science fiction, Kadner writes.
— Ismael Pérez, editorial board member

A classroom at South Shore Fine Arts Academy being cleaned after schools reopened in January. CPS must follow through with stronger oversight of two janitorial services firms that have a bad history of keeping schools clean, the editorial board writes. Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file
A classroom at South Shore Fine Arts Academy being cleaned after schools reopened in January. CPS must follow through with stronger oversight of two janitorial services firms that have a bad history of keeping schools clean, the editorial board writes. Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file
A new school year is just over a month away, and over 340,000 Chicago students — a good number of them still too young to be vaccinated — are slated to return to school buildings five days a week.
Nearly 32,000 teachers and other school staff will return to those buildings, too, all amid a newly resurgent pandemic fueled by the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
To keep the potentially deadly virus at bay, every one of the Chicago Public Schools’ 600-plus buildings had better be well-ventilated — and impeccably clean.
Immaculate schools should go without saying of course, pandemic or not. But we’re making special note of the issue following the news that CPS is poised to offer another contract to Aramark, the firm with a well-documented track record of failing when it comes to making sure schools are kept pristine.
CPS, in fact, promised last year to cut all ties with Aramark and SodexoMAGIC, a firm that worked with Aramark. We’re still not sure why the district changed its mind.
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board is the opinion voice of the hardest-working newspaper in America. It is headed by editorial page editor Tom McNamee and includes Thomas FrisbieLorraine ForteLee BeyIsmael Pérez and Mary Mitchell as members.
What others have to say
Phil Kadner on living through stuff of science fiction:
There are those who will blame lab workers in a foreign country for the virus, but the fact is the disease is being spread today by Americans who just don’t give a damn.
More editorials we published this week
The radical notion of a 4-day workweek
Enough with the nonsense. Every government and business should require the vaccine
In your words
“Schools, which can be a breeding ground for germs and viruses, are one contributor to our nation’s asthma epidemic. That is why we were disturbed by the recent news that the Chicago Public Schools will once again engage Aramark to clean its schools.”
— Erica Salem with the Respiratory Health Association
Every day we publish submissions from Chicago Sun-Times readers weighing in on issues facing the city and its residents. Send letters to letters@suntimes.com or reply to this email to share your perspective.
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Chicago Sun-Times Opinion This Week

A weekly overview of opinions, analysis and commentary on issues affecting Chicago, Illinois and our nation by outside contributors, Sun-Times readers and the CST Editorial Board.

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