coronavirus illinois

Chicago Public Schools Battle Over In-Person Learning Continues

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For the second day in a row on Thursday, Chicago Public Schools asked students who have already returned to classrooms to stay home again as the district's negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union over in-person learning continues.

CPS asked parents of pre-K students and students in cluster programs to keep their children home Thursday as a result of the CTU's vote to switch back to all remote learning during negotiations.

“Due to the union’s directive, we are unable to guarantee sufficient staffing to safely cover in-person learning, and parents should not send their children to school,” the district said in a social media post. “Remote learning will continue tomorrow.”

The teachers union’s vote to switch back to all-remote learning took effect Wednesday, the same day that teachers of students in kindergarten through eighth grade were supposed to report to schools to begin preparations for the return of students on Feb. 1.

Those plans are currently on hold as negotiations continue.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS leader Dr. Janice Jackson have both said that it is safe for teachers and students to return to classrooms with safety protocols in place and the promise of COVID-19 vaccinations on the horizon.

The union has pushed back on those assertions, saying that there have been enough coronavirus cases reported in the district since pre-K and cluster students returned to classrooms that they are justified in seeking a return to remote learning until educators can be vaccinated against the virus.

The CTU called for a meditator to step into negotiations on Tuesday, a call that was endorsed by Lightfoot and Jackson during a Tuesday press conference.

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