coronavirus illinois

CPS Pre-K, Cluster Program Students Told to Stay Home Thursday Amid Negotiation Stalemate

CPS and the CTU are still at odds over a return to in-person learning

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For the second day in a row, Chicago Public Schools parents are being asked to keep their children at home for remote learning Thursday as a stalemate continues in negotiations over resuming in-person learning early next month.

According to CPS officials, parents of pre-K students and students in cluster programs are being asked to keep their children home Thursday as a result of the Chicago Teachers Union’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 teacher’s 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, and negotiations remain ongoing between CTU and CPS officials.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS leader Dr. Janice Jackson have both said that it is safe for teachers and students to return to in-person learning, with safety protocols in place and the promise of vaccines for coronavirus on the horizon, as teachers are in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination program.

The teacher’s 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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