Deal is awaiting approval of the wider union
Chicago schoolchildren are expected to return to classrooms this weekend, after Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Sunday that the Chicago Teachers Association and Chicago Public Schools had reached a “temporary agreement”.
“We are here to announce the very good news that our children will return to the person learning this week,” said Lightfoot Press conference. “These past 11 months have been a tornado for our entire city, pushing us to limit ourselves countless times. We’ve lost jobs, we’ve lost loved ones … We’re all a non-emotional emotional rollercoaster But what we’ve tried individually and collectively is to navigate. “
Joint bargaining round with CHICAGO MAYOR LIGHTFOOT and CPS WALK AJAY
Under the temporary agreement, the start of in-person classes, which have been graded, has been pushed back by the district’s initial plans. Classes for some students will begin in the following week.
But the deal still depends on broad union approval, and it is unclear when or why there will be a vote for its 25,000 members, Chicago tribune informed of.
The Chicago Teachers Union tweeted on Sunday, “We do not yet have an agreement with Chicago Public Schools while the press conference was still taking place.” “The Mayor and his team made a proposal to our members late last night, which merits further review. We will continue with our democratic process of a day-long rank-and-file review before any agreement is reached. “
The union and the district have been fighting for months on plans to slowly reopen the district, with talks breaking down in recent times. Key issues include widespread vaccination for teachers, metrics for measuring school infections, and housing for teachers who have a person at home who is susceptible to coronavirus.
“The agreement was about making sure that not everyone in our school communities is safe, but also that they feel safe,” Lightfoot said.
“Last, best and last offer” sent to CHICAGO’s school, publishers
CPS officials have said that it is safe to open the school and that distance education is not working for all students, including many Black and Latino students who make up the majority of the students in the district. Union officials had argued that the district’s plan, which included air filters in classrooms and voluntary COVID-19 tests for teachers, had not gone too far.
Pre-K and Special Shikshamitra returned briefly last month, but then stayed amid a growing battle with the union, which voted to continue distance education and reject the district’s plans. Teachers and students in K-8 were to return on February 1. for the first time after going completely remote on February 1. The district gave two days of personalized instruction to K-8 students. No withdrawal date has been set for high school students.
The union had said that if the district closed the teachers, as it has done before, the teachers would picket. Such a move would have cut virtual learning for all students. The union last went on strike in 2019.
About 77,000 students from Pre-K to 8 expressed interest in returning to class in a December poll. While pre-K and some special education students were offered in-person five days a week, K-8 students were given in-person instruction two days a week with a remote classroom on other days. Attendance has been lower than expected.
Of the nearly 17,000 eligible preschool and special education students, 6,500 said they would like to return, but only 3,200, or 19% of those eligible, participated after the January reopening, CPS said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.