Video source: YouTube, WGN News
After months of negotiations, the Chicago Public School District and Chicago Teachers Union have reached a tentative agreement to return students and teachers to classrooms.
The deal announced Sunday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot between the nation’s third-largest school district and the union which represents 28,000 educators, would gradually reopen schools for in-person learning over the next few weeks, according to multiple reports.
Pending ratification by the teacher’s union, the agreement would put an end to labor dispute and ward off a possible strike, Reuters reported.
Over the past several months, the district and union have been in a stalemate over how to safely reopen schools, with teachers demanding stronger safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.
As part of the tentative resolution, pre-kindergarten and special education students would return on Thursday. Kindergarten through fifth grade students would be back in the classroom on March 1 and sixth through eighth graders are expected to return to in-person learning on March 8.
The district said it is still working with the union to address a plan for reopening high schools.
Under the terms of the new agreement, 1,500 educators would be vaccinated each week and additional staffers would be inoculated through the city’s pre-existing programs for the state’s phased vaccination rollout plan.
The plan also establishes protocols and metrics to determine if the district needs to revert to remote learning should a spike in cases occur.
About 67,000 students opted to return to campus on Jan. 26, but in-person instruction was canceled due to the ongoing labor dispute. Since the start of the pandemic last spring, the district’s 335,000 students have been learning remotely.
In a tweet Sunday, Lightfoot said:
Today’s tentative agreement, pending approval by CTU, is a step forward in our journey of renewal and recovery. One that sees all of us fighting to ensure we provide our kids the education, resources, and love they need to learn, grow, and pursue their dreams. pic.twitter.com/gRhKogXRiH
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) February 7, 2021
Union officials took to Twitter shortly after Lightfoot's announcement to clarify there is no agreement yet.
To recap: There is no agreement yet between the Union and the Board of Education. What we have is a framework that all of our members must first review and assess, because it is our members who are being asked to return to school buildings in the midst of a global pandemic.
— ChicagoTeachersUnion (@CTULocal1) February 7, 2021
A union representative told ABC it plans to meet Sunday to discuss the district’s proposal and could possibly vote on Tuesday.
Source: Equities News