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In-Person Learning Suspended By CPS As Teachers Fight Unsafe Reopening

By Secret Chicago

In-Person Learning Suspended By CPS As Teachers Fight Unsafe Reopening

A teachers strike looms as CPS and CTU fail to come to terms.

On Wednesday, January 28, Chicago Public Schools suspended in-person learning after teachers made clear their plans to fight against district orders that required a return to classrooms.

In yesterday’s announcement, CPS pointed the finger at the Chicago Teacher’s Union claiming an insufficient amount of staff is “due to the union’s directive” that encourages Chicago teachers to remain home.

Since schools reopened at the beginning of the month many teachers have been teaching outside in freezing temperatures emphasizing that it is a safer option than a return to in-person teaching inside school buildings.

The new suspension comes after Tuesday’s negotiations over a reopening strategy failed to come to an agreement. According to CPS, less than 14% of kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers returned to school buildings on Wednesday.

CPS then suspended in-person learning last night but announced that it still intends to begin a phased-in return to in-person teaching for elementary students starting Monday.

 

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Despite CPU claiming to have met with CTU “nearly 70x since June to discuss reopening, safety, student learning in a hybrid model” there has been no improvement on the continued discussion of reopening plans. The CTU disputed the authenticity of CPU’s statement and claimed that the CPS CEO has yet to attend a meeting.

A potential teachers strike in the United States’ third-largest district is now a strong possibility and would be the fourth Chicago teachers strike in the last decade.

It would see Chicago Teachers Union, comprised of 28,000 teachers, para-professionals, clinicians, and support staff, who represent one of the largest teacher unions in the United States, take on Chicago’s municipal executives. A reported 71% of the participating 86% of CTU’s members have voted in favor of striking.

Although CPU has threatened teachers with “the appropriate next steps, including cutting off access to CPS systems and discontinuing pay”, CTU continues to emphasize that it is the health and safety of their members that are the prior concern, and if there was not a safe way forward, this would be the reason behind the potential strike.