CHICAGO — The Chicago Public Schools district and the teachers union seem to be close to an agreement on COVID-19 safety protocols.
CPS has been negotiating with the Chicago Teachers Union’s new leadership during the summer to avoid any delays to the upcoming school year. The first day of school is Monday.
The deal may continue the agreement that was set second semester of the previous year, when the omicron variant took hold in Chicago.
Teachers wanted to start the semester remotely and the district said no. Learning stopped for days while the two sides worked out a deal.
Some of the key points include in-school testing, vaccination events and keeping masks optional.
According to union officials, the district has agreed to continue in-school testing, having K95 masks available and partnering with CTU on vaccination drives. Each school will also have safety committees to keep tabs on COVID-19. The proposed agreement also covers incentives for substitute teachers for COVID overall in the district.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez spoke at the City Club of Chicago on Wednesday and outlined his vision for the next school year.
“Our ultimate goal is 22 23 is a strong recovery year bring the district back to pre pandemic upward trajectory through … strategic investment and implementing best practices,” Martinez.
The union’s House of Delegates will vote next week on the plan. If the union accepts it, it will go to a full membership vote — if it’s rejected, the two sides would go back to the bargaining table.