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Chicago teachers prepare to teach their students remotely. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Chicago Teachers Union voted against returning to in-person learning despite the district's plan for K-8 students to return to classrooms on Feb 1, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: District officials have said that the union's decision to disobey the order to return to schools would violate the union’s collective bargaining agreement, which prohibits union members from striking. Union officials, however, say that teachers retuning to schools without being vaccinated would put them at greater risk of contracting the virus.

Driving the news: President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges, Axios' Kyle Daly writes. American students are falling behind due to remote learning yet inadequate contact tracing has made it harder to determine the risk of going back into classrooms.

Where it stands: Roughly 10,000 K-8 teachers from the nation’s third-largest school district are supposed to return to school on Monday to prepare for part-time in-school classes starting Feb. 1.

  • The district went fully remote last March because of the pandemic but has gradually welcomed students back.
  • Pre-K and special education students have started in-person instruction this month, and teachers who didn’t return to this model were punished.

What they're saying: The union is advocating for teachers and staffers to continue working from home until they have had at least the first of the two vaccines.

  • They argue that the district would be responsible for a work stoppage if it decides to punish teachers for staying home on Monday.

The other side: The district said it would begin vaccinating teachers and staff by mid-February but the process would take months.

Go deeper: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Health

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.

Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas — Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. Economy: Report: World's 10 richest men doubled wealth during pandemicAmerica's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  7. Variant tracker

Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19

Photo: Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

State of play: Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler said in a statement that Milley — who is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot — is experiencing "very minor symptoms" and is "working remotely and isolating himself."