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CHICAGO —  With COVID-19 cases slowly rising, Chicago teachers are not backing down in their opposition to the return of in-person learning this fall.

A caravan of demonstrators slowly made its way down from the Chicago Teachers Union headquarters to protest outside City Hall Monday, as part of a national day of action for education equity.

Chicago Public Schools is recommending a hybrid schedule combining two days of in-person instruction and three days of remote learning for kindergarten though sophomore year students, but there’s no final decision yet. The CTU and many teachers say they don’t think it’s safe for them, staff or children to go back to school.

“You can’t convince anyone out here that it is safe,” said Stacy Davis Gates, CTU.

The teachers union says its unsafe to return and wants all public school students to continue with online learning this fall. Families with children in CPS have until Friday to decide if they’d prefer full remote learning or a hybrid option.

CPS released a statement Monday that said:

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our students and staff, and Chicago Public Schools won’t open its doors on September 8 if public health officials don’t deem it safe to do so. We continue to gather community feedback and closely monitor the public health data before making any final determinations for what learning will look like this fall.”

Chicago Public Schools

Teachers say what they’ve learned from this pandemic is how under-resourced the Chicago school district is, and how poorly children are equipped to learn in a health crisis like this.

Last week the district hosted five virtual meetings to get feedback from the community, and said they will have the results of that this week.

The CTU also says the mask is becoming the new pencil, and right now there are not enough face coverings to keep students safe.

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