Rank-and-file members of the Chicago Teachers Union are in the process of voting on the deal reached by the union and the city on new COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said she expects the vote to be complete by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Chicago Public School students are set to return to school on Wednesday, after teachers returned to buildings on Tuesday.
This comes after CPS canceled five days of classes amid a labor action by the CTU in which teachers and staff refused to work in person as COVID-19 cases surged to levels not yet seen in the pandemic.
The union’s House of Delegation approved Chicago Public Schools’ proposal on Monday night, with 63% voting in favor. The elected delegates also voted to suspend the labor action and return to schools.
The compromise includes expanded contact tracing, COVID-19 testing and additional KN95 masks for students and staff, as well as metrics to trigger possible transitions to remote learning on a school-by-school basis.
“The deal has two things that I think are important to have. It has guardrails for safety and it has accountability for members,” Davis Gates said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday night at a press conference she hopes this will be the last of the COVID-19-related disputes between the union and the district, at least this year.
“Someone needs to tell COVID,” Davis Gates said. “I don’t think any member of the Chicago Teachers Union, and any families, wants COVID to continue to interrupt and destabilize our lives and these variants, they have a mind of their own. They do what they want to do…. We have to be in a position of flexibility to pivot in ways that maximizes the greatest level of safety that we can in the face of this pandemic.”