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CICERO, Ill. The majority of teachers in Cicero’s School District 99 have chosen to continue to teach remotely as the district directs teachers back to buildings on Monday.

“By demanding that we return to classrooms in the midst of the pandemic, Superintendent Rodolfo Hernandez and the District 99 Board of Education are not prioritizing the safety of our teachers and school staff,” Cicero Council president Rachel Esposito said.

Approximately 11,000 students attend Cicero schools, which are predominantly of Latinx families who have been drastically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The West Suburban Teachers Union filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the District last month because it has yet to bargain a safety agreement with the union. A hearing on the charge is scheduled for January 21.

The union is asking for a safety metric to define when adults and students can safely return to buildings. Teachers are also seeking regular cleaning, improved air filtration and adequate PPE.

“Until District 99 takes seriously its obligation to bargain a safety agreement with us, we have no choice but to take action to protect ourselves,” Esposito said.