State Watch

Chicago Teachers Union agrees to reopen city schools Wednesday

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) on Monday agreed to accept a deal that will allow schools to reopen on Wednesday after four days of cancellations over instructors refusing to teach in-person amid COVID-19 spikes following the holidays.

Last week, teachers staged a walkout in support of the union’s call for a temporary return to virtual learning due to high infection rates and what they say are a lack of mitigation measures. On Sunday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) condemned the walkout as “illegal” and accused teachers of abandoning students and parents.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the CTU’s House of Delegates approved a proposal late Monday to return to in-person learning and suspend a work action in which teachers refused to go to the classroom.

The proposal also sets parameters for individual schools to return to remote learning based on the rate of staff absences, the number of students in isolation or quarantine and also whether the rate of transmission is high at the time.

During a press conference late on Monday, Lightfoot dismissed the notion of winners or losers in the disagreement between the city and the teachers union.

“This most recent fight, if you want to call it that, has been a fight for access to in-person learning, learning that is far superior to the remote programming our students had to endure for far too long last year,” she said, according to the Tribune.

Earlier on Monday, the CTU said in a statement, “The Union wants to reassure the parents and guardians of Chicago that we will remain at the bargaining table until we reach an agreement that will return us all to in-person learning safely and equitably.”

This dispute occurred as new COVID-19 cases across the U.S. have surged due to the highly transmissible omicron variant. The White House has signaled its commitment to keeping schools open, pushing a “test-to-stay” policy for students. 

Tags Chicago Chicago Public Schools Chicago Teachers Union Distance education in-person learing Jen Psaki Lori Lightfoot Lori Lightfoot

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