Chicago Public Schools reach tentative agreement to reopen schools, subject to CTU member vote

Midwest

CHICAGO (WGN) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union reached a tentative agreement to return to in-person learning next week, although the agreement still requires CTU member ratification.

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union are slated to vote on ratifying the agreement later Sunday.

The two sides tentatively agreed on a phased-in return, which the CTU proposed in negotiations.

“Our children will be returning to in-person learning this week,” Mayor Lightfoot said.

Pre-K and cluster students are slated to return to in-person learning this upcoming Thursday, February 11.

K-5 students are scheduled to return to in-person learning on March 1, with students grades 6 through 8 slated to return on March 8. Staff is expected to report back into school buildings one week prior to students.

A return date for high school students has not been set.

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The city’s latest proposal reportedly grants many of the union’s requests, including language that no teacher or staff member would go back to the classroom without being offered a vaccine. The tentative agreement allows any teacher who requests to continue to be allowed to do so if a member of their household is medically compromised.

“The victory is for our families who need it the most,” said CPS CEO Janice Jackson. “Face covering and social distancing will be with us for the foreseeable future, I am hopeful that this is the beginning of a new phase of the Chicago Public Schools that brings us closer to where we were prior to the pandemic.”

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady says her office helped develop a plan that would trigger a return to remote learning for a 14-day period if the citywide test positivity rate is 10 percent or higher.

“The feeling is that would be a setting.” she said, “where you would move to a pause.”

Click here for more information on CPS’ reopening plan.

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