CTU responds to parents’ complaints of ‘always wanting more’ as CPS plans to reopen high schools

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CHICAGO — Chicago Public high school teachers say they won’t return Wednesday unless they have a deal on reopening with the district.

High school students are scheduled to return to classrooms on April 19.

CPS teachers are demanding a reopening agreement, and some parents say the union is always asking for more.

CTU VP Stacy Davis Gates says teachers are always “wanting more” because of the best interest of their children and students.

“Reopening a facility that has the resources that we need, the safety mitigations that are necessary, is the work that the adults have to do in this moment to make it safe,” she said.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey says amid rising Covid positivity rates in the city, the union wants to ensure safety for teachers, staff and students before high schools transition from remote learning to in-person.

“We’re asking for some basic safeguards and assurances that we’re not pouring gasoline on a fire and making a situation worse,” he said.

“Make the reopening plan make sense,” he added. “Make it safe. If we do not see that, then members of the CTU are not going back in the buildings under those conditions.”

The district says they are working on a plan to get the vaccine to those 16 and older, but not details have been released.

The city says a successful opening of school for younger children shows their COVID-19 mitigation plan works, and there is no reason to delay the return to classrooms for high schoolers.

Currently, only 36% of high school students have said they would return, 45% choosing to learn remotely.

CPS is preparing to fully reopen high schools despite the union’s demand to keep students in remote learning.

On Sunday night, the union’s House of Delegates voted to hold off on teachers returning this Wednesday to prepare classrooms.

Sharkey remains hopeful, and says he believes negotiations with CPS will go through the weekend.

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