Lightfoot moved to reopen on Tuesday, but that might not even happen.
The talks between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) fell apart on Sunday, leaving the kids without a deal and sets up a potential teacher strike and lockout.
Students have not been in the classroom since March 2020 when everything shut down due to COVID-19.
Lightfoot told teachers those without permission to stay home must return to the classrooms on Monday, and students K-8th grade will report on Tuesday.
Medical officials have said the schools are safe for teachers and students. Chicago Catholic and charter schools opened in August with minimal problems.
Preschool and special education classes opened on January 11 with 3,300 students.
Lightfoot wanted 62,000 K-8th grade students and about 10,000 teachers to report on Monday. But that looks like it will happen on Tuesday.
From The Chicago Tribune:
“We expect all of our teachers who have not received a specific accommodation to come to school tomorrow,” Lightfoot said Sunday evening.
CPS CEO Janice Jackson said teachers who fail to report to buildings Monday “will have their access to Google Suite cut off at the end of the business day,” an action that Chicago Teachers Union leaders said would lead to a strike.
Asked what she would tell the 70% of parents who are keeping their children remote about why their teachers are being locked out, Lightfoot said, “I think the question is … what do we tell those parents about the teachers who are refusing to show up to class? That’s really the question.”
Lightfoot reminded the CTU that the Chicago schools are safe and that “remote learning is failing too many of our kids.”
The Democratic mayor has tried to maintain composure when it comes to the union. Lightfoot got a little testy when she said her side needs “a renewed sense of urgency on the part of CTU leadership.”
Lightfoot told the media the city is “practically begging CTU to come to the table to get a deal done.” The statement contradicted the union:
The union alleged earlier Sunday that the district’s bargaining team was told not to negotiate unless CTU’s members were willing to offer “major” concessions.
“The CPS bargaining team was instructed not to attend negotiations today unless our teachers, clinicians, PSRPs, nurses, librarians and other rank-and-file educators were prepared to make major concessions,” the union said in a tweet.
In a response, CPS posted to Twitter: “Fact check: Our bargaining team was told by CTU leadership that they were unavailable to meet until they could develop a response to our most recent offer. Our team has been standing by all day.”
Lightfoot has also tried to keep things cordial between the sides, but Jackson slammed the CTU for interfering with the students:
Jackson said the union “has stood in the way” of a safe and sensible reopening.
“Tomorrow will be the fourth consecutive day where teachers have been directed to remain home, and that makes 15 days in the past year and a half where CTU leadership has disrupted student learning,” Jackson said. “No one should be OK with that.”
Jackson said she’s incredibly frustrated, not just as the leader of this school system but “as a parent.”
The schools promised:
- Health screenings
- Temperature checks
- Mandatory face masks
- Social distancing
- Access to hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
- Constant cleaning and disinfection
- Proper ventilation
- New air filters
Parents protested in front of the CTU building, begging the teachers to return because their children fell out of love with learning.
Bridgett White’s children have not been in a classroom since March 2020. She told CBS News she is “very frustrated” by the current situation because everyday parents wonder, “Is this the day my child won’t have any learning at all?”DONATE
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