Rank-and-file members of the Chicago Teachers Union are voting Tuesday on the framework to return to in-person learning.
The CTU's House of Delegates voted Monday to send the proposal, a tentative deal reached in negotiations with Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the weekend, to members for a vote.
The House of Delegates sent the measure to members by a vote of 526 to 82, with 12 abstentions, making no recommendation on the motion, the union said. The delegates also passed a vote of no confidence in Lightfoot and CPS leadership, the CTU said.
Ballots are due by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, according to CTU, with more than 25,000 members casting their vote by secret electronic ballot.
The vote comes after CPS officials said that the two sides had reached a tentative agreement on a return to in-person learning as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The CTU, who previously said that there is no “tentative agreement” with CPS since membership has yet to vote on the issue, emphasized again Monday that there was no acceptance.
The deal, if approved by the more than 25,000 members of the CTU, would have kids in pre-K and cluster learning classes back in classrooms by Thursday. Children in kindergarten through fifth grade would return March 1, while children in sixth through eighth grade would return on March 8 as part of a staggered return schedule.
Teachers and staff would be eligible to receive additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine earmarked for the union through the new proposal. New procedures for shutting down classrooms, or even the entire CPS, to in-person learning are also part of the proposal, along with enhanced contact tracing and other safety measures.
“I feel like we’re getting to the light at the end of the tunnel,” Tiffany Norwood, an HOD member and a pre-K teacher, says. “I feel like now we’re getting over the hump.”
Norwood has three kids in CPS schools, and has naturally followed the negotiations with great interest.
“I feel like with this new plan, points we were trying to discuss from the beginning are being more easily identified now,” she said.
Approximately 20% of students in Chicago Public Schools opted into a return to classrooms, according to officials.