U.S.

Chicago Public Schools cancels school for 4th day Monday as negotiations continue with CTU

CHICAGO (WLS) – Chicago Public Schools canceled classes again Monday as the standoff with the Chicago Teachers’ Union over COVID protocols continued into its second week.

Monday marks the fourth day in a row that CPS students are out of class. Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke confidently throughout the weekend about reaching an agreement, but no agreement was reached despite the two sides’ negotiations overnight.

Mayor Lightfoot and CPS CEO Pedro Martinez issued a joint statement Sunday night saying, “Out of fairness and consideration for parents who need to be prepared, classes will be canceled again on Monday. Although we’ve been negotiating hard all day, there was nothing… Enough progress for us to predict we’ll be back in class tomorrow. We’ll keep negotiating through the night and give an update if we’ve made much progress.”

Janet Lochki, a mother of a sixth grader, said she is concerned about her son’s education.

“I’m afraid it’s taking away from the momentum it had at the start of the year,” Luszczky said.

What are the main sticking points between CPS and CTU?

In its own statement Sunday, the CTU said: “The Federation wants to reassure Chicago’s parents and guardians that we will remain at the negotiating table until we reach an agreement that brings us all back to safe and equitable personal learning.”

It comes after the union proposed having Chicago teachers on premises this week, handing out digital devices and enrolling students in a COVID-19 test in order to begin remote learning Wednesday with the goal of returning to in-person tutoring on Jan. 18.

Related: Why do so many recently vaccinated people get COVID-19? | What you need to know

Teachers said they wanted to attend the school but believed CPS needed to ramp up testing like local private schools. The Chicago Teachers’ Union held a press conference Saturday afternoon to discuss their latest proposals for the mayor’s CPS team.

While CPS agreed to some terms, even considering distance learning on a school-by-school basis, the proposal, which was ultimately rejected, as Mayor Lightfoot and CPS do not agree with the CTU to delay students’ return to the classroom.

Lightfoot, who appeared on “Meet the Press on Sunday,” said that this illegal withdrawal by the teachers’ union had cascading negative effects not only on students and their education, and their social and emotional well-being, but also on families themselves.

The CTU proposal also requires that CPS randomly test at least 10% of students and staff each week at each school. This program will allow students to opt out. The proposal would also require CPS to stop in-person learning for 14 days and move entirely to distance education citywide if Chicago’s COVID-19 test positivity rate increases for seven consecutive days, and remains at 15% higher than the rate from one week before it. for each of those days and up to 10% or more on the seventh day.

RELATED: Plainfield School District cancels classes Monday due to ‘rising number of bus drivers with COVID’

CTU members also requested that any school with 25% or more of its staff due to COVID-19 cases or exposure for two consecutive days be moved to distance learning. For schools with 100 or more employees, a transition will be made to distance learning if these cases reach 20%.

They also introduced rules for distance learning if students’ exposure reached certain percentages. Primary schools will switch to distance learning if more than 30% of students are directed to quarantine or isolation. Secondary schools and divided middle school programs will become remote if more than 25% of the total student population receives such instruction.

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