CHICAGO — Chicago Public high school teachers will work from home Wednesday if no new deal is reached.
CPS staff are expected to return to the classroom Monday to prepare for in-person learning. Students are set to return on Monday, April 19.
The Chicago Teachers Union want Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office to make changes that would make COVID-19 vaccines more available to students and vulnerable family members.
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.”
On Sunday night, the union’s House of Delegates voted to hold off on teachers returning this Wednesday to prepare classrooms. Even though the union says about 70% of CPS students have elected to remain home for remote learning.
In a statement, CPS says, in part:
“Productive discussions with CTU continued throughout the weekend, and we have general alignment on a set of key topics including safety protocols to keep students and staff safe and scheduling models that will be tailored to the needs of each school. We hope to reach an agreement as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition for our high school students and families.”
CPS and CTU will continue their discussions Monday. If there is no agreement by Wednesday, the union says teachers will either do teaching outside of their schools or continue to teach from home. They will not go inside.
Lightfoot previously said the union agreed to the reopening plan for high schools and there was no need to change it.