Jan 4, 2022 - COVID

Chicago Teachers Union to vote on remote teaching

Woman at a podium with lots of microphones.
Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates decries CPS COVID protocols at a press conference Monday. Photo courtesy of a CTU live stream

Chicago Teachers Union members will vote today on switching to remote teaching during the current COVID-19 surge.

  • But Chicago Public School officials call it "a refusal to report to work."

The vote could result in one of three outcomes tomorrow:

  • All 320,000 CPS students switching to remote learning.
  • Students being cut off from learning entirely if CPS blocks teachers' access to students and equipment.
  • School proceeding as usual if CTU members vote to stay in school.

State of play: CTU and CPS officials are still at odds over union demands to set safety metrics, test students for COVID and provide high quality masks for students and staff.

  • Hope for compromise looked bleak Monday after Mayor Lori Lightfoot told CNBC, "We need to keep our kids in school, which is what we're going to do in Chicago."

Zoom out: CPS looks increasingly like an island of resistance. School districts across the country and the Chicago area, including Lightfoot's daughter's school, have delayed starts or moved to remote teaching.

What's next: CPS officials refused to answer Axios' question about allowing the district to go to remote teaching, but offered a statement.

  • "CPS is aware of the CTU's calls for possible member actions, including refusal to report to work which CPS is deeply concerned could place the health and safety of members of our community, particularly our students, at increased risk."
  • City officials continue to say that "community" interactions and not schools pose the greatest COVID risk to students.
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