The Chicago Teachers Union presented a proposal to Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Saturday that they say will provide clarity on a return to the city’s public-school classrooms, create increased safety and testing protocols and restart the education process for students who have been out of class since before the holiday break.
The latest proposal announced Saturday calls for a resumption of in-person work for union members on Monday with virtual learning beginning for Chicago Public Schools students on Wednesday, Jan. 12. The CTU proposes to resume in-person instruction on Tuesday, Jan. 18, “unless CDPH [Chicago Department of Public Health] of the State of Illinois determine that public health conditions are not safe for in-person school at the time,” according to the text of the proposal.
Chicago public school students have had their first three days of school canceled this past week due to surging Omicron cases.
Saturday’s proposal also includes certain thresholds for a district-wide or school-by-school return to virtual learning should cases continue to spike, according to the document. The union also calls on CPS to provide KN95 masks for students and staff for the remainder of the school year and asks CPS to implement Covid-19 screening test systems for students and staff.
Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez fired back at the union in a joint statement shortly after the proposal was announced Saturday.
“CTU leadership, you’re not listening. The best, safest place for kids to be is in school. Students need to be back in person as soon as possible. That’s what parents want. That’s what the science supports. We will not relent," they said in the statement.