Union voted to end multi-day standoff with city over concerns over Covid-19
Chicago public schools are set to continue in-person classes after the city’s teachers’ union backed a plan with the local school district to establish new pandemic safety measures, ending a standoff that has lasted for nearly of a week.
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) House of Delegates voted to resume face-to-face learning on Monday, suspending a labor dispute that led educators to refuse to teach face-to-face as of last week . Under the new plan, schools will reopen on Wednesday.
In return for returning to work, the Chicago School District has agreed to put in place guidelines to help determine when certain schools should return to distance learning, which will be based on the number of staff and student absences. caused by Covid-19, as well as whether there is currently a high level of viral transmission in the community, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot – who had vigorously resisted a recent union push to return to full distance learning – celebrated the decision later Monday, hailing the in-person classes as “Far superior to the remote programming our students had to endure far too long last year.”
“No one wins when our students are not where they can learn best and where they are most secure” she said.
Although Lightfoot has previously accused the union of abandoning students by refusing to show up for work, CTU President Jesse Sharkey insisted the mayor was “implacably refuse to seek accommodation” for teachers still concerned about the pandemic. The body urged the city administration to “Finally, commit to putting in place enforceable safety protections focused on the well-being of our students, their families and our school communities. “
The Chicago Public School District was adamant about avoiding stopping in-person sessions, with CEO Pedro Martinez saying: “I am not closing schools” regardless of how the union voted last week, also condemning any work stoppage as an illegal strike. On Thursday, a group of local parents filed a complaint against the union.
The Windy City has seen a sharp rise in the number of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks, likely due to the rise of the more transmissible Omicron variant.
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