State Watch

Chicago schools closed for fourth consecutive day

Empty Chicago school

Chicago Public Schools closed for a fourth consecutive day on Monday as negotiations continue between the district and teachers union regarding COVID-19 safety protocols.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) announced on Sunday evening that classes would be canceled again on Monday “Out of fairness and consideration for parents who need to prepare.”

The mayor said that despite negotiations running through the day “there has not been sufficient progress for us to predict a return to class tomorrow.”

“We will continue to negotiate through the night and will provide an update if we have made substantial progress,” Lightfoot wrote on Twitter.

The standoff between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union began on Wednesday, when the union told teachers not to report to work in-person as part of a push to transition instruction to remote learning due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. The district, however, opted to cancel classes instead of moving to virtual instruction.

Classrooms were shuttered on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week, affecting roughly 350,000 students.

The Chicago Teachers Union on Saturday proposed making instruction remote starting Wednesday until Jan. 18 if officials enact more COVID-19 safety protocols, but Lightfoot rejected the plan, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Lightfoot on Sunday called the teachers union’s walkout “illegal,” and said they “abandoned kids and their families.”

Asked if students will return to the classroom this week, Lightfoot on Sunday said “I’m doing everything I can to make sure that happens.” She said her team was “working diligently every single day” during negotiations to strike a deal between the two parties.

The saga involving Chicago Public Schools comes as the U.S. is seeing a nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases driven largely by the highly transmissible omicron variant. While infections have skyrocketed, deaths remain lower than at previous points of the pandemic.

Early reports have said the omicron variant causes less severe illness than previous strains of the virus.

The school system hit a pandemic record for daily new COVID-19 cases last month, with more than 600 infections.

Tags Chicago COVID-19 Education Lori Lightfoot teacher union

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video