Chicago teachers’ union reached tentative deal to reopen public schools

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Chicago (AP) – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Sunday touted a preliminary deal with teacher unions on the COVID-19 safety protocol, saying she could avoid strikes in the states’ third-largest school district -United. I did.

Some students will be able to gradually reopen the school each year and return to class immediately on Thursday. The city has also agreed to vaccinate 1,500 teachers and employees every week at a dedicated vaccination center in Chicago public schools. Potential deals still require Chicago Teachers Union approval, but also include indicators that cause school closures when cases increase.

Unions and districts Fighting for months Discussions over plan to gradually reopen student district of around 340,000 people Collapsed in recent days Over issues such as vaccination Lightfoot and CPS actors Threatened to lock down educators The union said this would lead to a second strike in less than two years.

On Sunday, the mayor of the first term, visibly upset at a recent press conference, laughed.

“The deal was not just about making everyone in the school community feel safe, but also making them feel safe,” Wrightfoot said, calling the past 11 months a “whirlwind in the world”. ‘city scale’. called.

She called it a “tentative deal,” but the union called it a proposal that needed further consideration.

CTU tweeted Sunday that “there is no agreement with Chicago public schools yet.” “We will continue the democratic baseline review process throughout the day until the deal is reached.”

It is not known when the union will start voting. The Union Membership Board must decide whether or not to send proposals to approximately 25,000 members for approval.

A union spokesperson declined to comment further.

Associated press

Kindergarten students listening to a teacher reading a story at Chicago’s Doze Elementary School on Monday, January 11, 2021 (Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool)

CPS officials say opening schools is safe and distance learning does not work for all students, including many black and Latino students who make up the majority of the school district. Union officials said the district’s plans, including air filters for classrooms and a voluntary COVID-19 test for teachers, were underdeveloped.

As part of this proposal, preschool and special education teachers and students will return to the first wave starting Thursday. Kindergarten to Grade 5 students will return on March 1 and Grades 6 to 8 students will return on March 8. For high school students, no date is specified to continue distance learning until another notification is given.

Illinois rolls out final round of vaccination Last month it included teachers, but supply was limited.

The school’s executive director, Janice Jackson, said on Sunday that 2,000 teachers and staff had returned to work earlier and were living in “medically vulnerable households.” The city then turned to teachers on the city’s dedicated website. Start the vaccination. He’s at the top of the Chicago agenda, which prioritizes people living and working in high-impact areas.

The agreement also outlined indicators of temporary suspension of classroom learning for the entire school district (including 7 consecutive days of positive test rates) and individual classrooms, according to the CPS summary for Sunday trade. Continues to allow some employees to continue distance education if some employees are at increased risk of serious illness due to COVID-19 or if they work as primary caregivers for people at high risk Said donate.

Kindergarten and special education students temporarily returned last month, but after that the battle with the union ended as it escalated. Voted to continue distance education Reject the district plan. Teachers and students at K-8 schools were due to return on February 1 for the first time since they were completely removed last March. The school district offered elementary and secondary students two days of in-person instruction.

The union, if the district excluded teachers, Like I did before, the teacher would be a picket line. Such a decision would disrupt virtual learning for all students. The union held the last strike in 2019.

A December survey found that approximately 77,000 students from preschool to age eight were interested in returning to class. Pre-enrollment students and some special education students received face-to-face lessons five days a week, while K-8 students were offered face-to-face lessons two days a week and distance lessons on other days. It has been provided.

Participants are below expectations.

Of the nearly 17,000 qualified preschool and special education students, according to the CPS, around 6,500 want to return, but after the reopening in January, around 3,200, or just 19%.

Districts and unions have already reached agreement on other aspects, such as breakdown and contact tracing.

Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiatareen.

Chicago teachers’ union reached tentative deal to reopen public schools

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