Jan 10, 2022 - News

Chicago Public Schools to resume in-person Wednesday

Chicago Public Schools logo

The sign outside CPS headquarters. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Chicago Teachers Union voted last night to "suspend the Union's remote work action" and return to school buildings Tuesday.

Why it matters: In-person classes for students will resume Wednesday after five days of class cancellations, though rank and file CTU members will still have to vote in favor of the deal. The Union House of Delegates voted 389-226 in favor.

The two parties shared broad outlines on the terms:

Opt-out testing

  • All surveillance testing will require parents to explicitly opt their children in.
  • A win for the CPS side.

Metrics to flip a school to remote

  • Schools would go remote for five days if 30% of teachers are absent for two consecutive days or 40% or students are quarantined.
  • A compromise between both sides' proposals.

Metrics to flip to districtwide remote

  • No metric is set to trigger districtwide remote.
  • A win for CPS.

What they're saying: "I'm glad that we're hopefully putting this behind us and looking forward," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a press conference Monday night. "....Three work stoppages in three years. Of course people are frustrated. Why wouldn't they be?"

  • CTU President Jesse Sharkey in a separate Monday press conference: "We worked hard to find other compromises. I'm not going to say anyone on our team feels like this is a home run."
  • CTU VP Stacy Davis Gates: "We had to go to remote to get face coverings … and more testing inside of our school communities in the middle of a pandemic."
  • Davis Gates on Mayor Lightfoot: "This mayor is unfit to lead this city. She is on a one-woman kamikaze mission to destroy our Chicago Public Schools."

Yes, but: Chicago Sun-Times reporter Nader Issa tweeted that teachers were not uniformly happy with the proposal.

  • One told him, "I just paid $3,200 for two KN95 masks," presumably referring to pay teachers may lose from lost instructional days.

Big picture: "Families have to have a voice [in these discussions] especially as we move forward," said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. "I commit to you right now that that is what's going to happen."

What we're watching: It's still unclear if teachers will be paid for the lost instructional days. CTU attorney Robert Bloch said the issue was "punted" to CEO Martinez.

What's next: CTU members are expected to vote this week, even as early as today.


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