Jan 10, 2022 - News

Chicago Public Schools cancels fourth straight day of class

Jesse Jackson speaking at a mic.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson (middle) between Chicago Teachers Union leaders Jesse Sharkey and Stacy Davis Gates at a CTU press conference Saturday. Photo courtesy of a CTU livestream

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced at 7:41pm last night that it has canceled classes today again as the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and CPS try to hash out final points of contention.

Driving the news: CPS and CTU swapped counter proposals over the weekend but remain stuck on three main points.

Opt-out testing

The CTU wants 10% of randomly chosen students tested each week unless parents opt them out.

  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she's morally opposed to testing students unless parents explicitly opt them in.

Context: Dozens of districts across the state and country conduct opt-out testing. And some cities, including Los Angeles and Washington DC, are making testing mandatory for all students to return.

Speaking of testing: Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweeted Saturday that he'd secured 350,000 rapid tests to "get teachers and kids safely in classrooms ASAP."

Remote teaching

The CTU wants teachers back in school buildings Monday to prepare for remote teaching.

  • CPS insists that students return to the buildings, too.

What they're saying: CPS says "schools are the safest place" for students, citing a department of health study showing fewer COVID-19 infections among students who returned to in-person school last year.

The other side: CTU contends schools are still unsafe. Northwestern University infectious disease professor Dr. Robert Murphy told WGN-TV Friday that "it's not safe to open schools."

Districtwide metrics

CTU wants a stated threshold that could flip the whole district to remote rather than just a single school or classroom.

  • CPS rejects any such threshold.

🤝 Meanwhile, a surprise mediator has emerged: Rev. Jesse Jackson. At a CTU press conference Saturday, he said he has been speaking to Mayor Lightfoot and the union as an "honest broker," to help solve the impasse.

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