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Chicago Teachers Union suspends strike, vote on proposal to reopen expected Wed.

Randy Mancini 12 Jan 11
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Obama Presidential Center at Jackson Park on September 28, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. - The 700-million-dollar project has been six years in the making and the center is scheduled to open in 2025. (Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Obama Presidential Center at Jackson Park on September 28, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Students are headed back to school in the Windy City as the Chicago Teachers Union ends its strike. Late Monday night, the union’s House of Delegates voted to suspend its remote work action after cancelling classes four-days in a row.

The union said the suspension will remain in effect while members vote on an agreement made between the Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The agreement includes a joint effort to boost COVID testing and school safety metrics, including schools to shift to remote learning for five days if 30 percent of teachers are absent for two consecutive days.

The union’s 25,000 members will vote on the proposal this week with officials hoping schools will reopen on Wednesday. This move came after Lightfoot criticized her city’s teachers union over its decision to close schools. During an interview Sunday, the Democrat said the Chicago Teachers Union did an illegal walkout while abandoning their posts and their students.

The teacher’s union proposed an extension for remote learning last week, but Lightfoot denied their request. The union also demanded that schools randomly test at least 10 percent of the student and staff population every week at every school. Additionally, it requested in-person learning be paused for 14 days citywide if positivity rates reach certain specified levels.

We always follow the science and data. https://t.co/Tk9ZoZvNXI

— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) January 8, 2022

However, Lightfoot pointed out that the absolute wrong thing to do is to abandon the science and data that shows in-person learning is best for students.

“They have chose to do unilateral action that is doing nothing but harming children, harming their families, disrupting our system at a time when we need everybody to be unified,” stated the mayor. “We need our kids in school for in person learning.”

Lightfoot said Chicago Public Schools’ decision to cancel class for three straight days last week has had cascading ripple effects not only on students in their learning, social and emotional welfare, but also on the families. She argued parents are outraged while pointing out 70 percent or more of students in the district qualify for free or reduced lunch. This means many children live in households which are poor and working class.

“So we’re drawing a line: enough is enough,” the mayor continued. “I’m tired of the Groundhogs Day appearance of everything that goes on with Chicago Teachers Union leadership. We need partnership, we don’t need conflict right now.”

In the meantime, Lightfoot hopes to come to an agreement at the bargaining table and not in a courtroom.

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