Thousands of pre-kindergarten and special education cluster program students within Chicago Public Schools are once again being told to stay home Friday as the school district and Chicago Teachers Union have yet to reach a deal on a safe school reopening plan.
CPS is telling parents to keep their students home Friday, as many teachers within the CTU will not show up for in-person work until a deal is reached.
CTU leadership continues to direct staff to remain home. Therefore, we must ask parents to continue keeping your children home as we are unable to guarantee sufficient staffing to safely cover in-person learning. Remote learning will continue tomorrow, Fri., 1/29. pic.twitter.com/52ydA5kamh
— Chicago Public Schools (@ChiPubSchools) January 29, 2021
Rank-and-file CTU members over the weekend approved a resolution indicating their desire to continue working remotely until an agreement is reached. According to that resolution, if CPS responds by locking teachers who don’t show up out of their education accounts, they could respond with a strike.
District data shows that on Wednesday, less than half of school-based pre-K and cluster program staffers, including just 28% of teachers, showed up for in-person work.
Both sides have said progress toward a deal has been made in recent days, but the union is still demanding assurances on access to COVID-19 vaccinations for educators, enforceable safety standards in schools and a more reliable health metric for deciding when to suspend in-person learning.
CPS leaders have said their latest proposal addresses most of those concerns.
Beyond the pre-K and cluster students who returned to schools earlier this month, tens of thousands of elementary school kids are slated to resume in-person learning Monday. Despite the ongoing uncertainty with CTU, the district still fully intends to bring those students back on time.
CPS initially said they expected 77,000 students in total to return for in-person learning, but on Wednesday the district said that figure had dipped down to 67,000.