As more families pivot back to remote learning amid quarantines and school closures, reliable, consistent access to devices and home internet remains elusive for many students who need them to keep up with their schoolwork.
Much of the $190 billion that Congress authorized for schools earlier in the pandemic has yet to be used. In a majority of states, less than 20% of the federal money had been spent by the end of November, according to the latest U.S. Department of Education data.
According to district data from Chicago Public Schools, over 12,818 students are in quarantine, and 2,355 adults are also staying home due to a positive case.
Navient, the second largest student loan servicer in the U.S., agreed Thursday to cancel $1.7 billion in debt owed by more than 66,000 borrowers across the country as part of a multistate lawsuit that accused the company of abusive lending practices.
Rank-and-file CTU members on Wednesday signed off on the deal, two days after the union’s elected delegates voted to suspend a labor action that saw the vast majority of teachers refusing to work in person amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Efforts to use COVID-19 testing to ensure outbreaks could be stamped out before they catch fire was at the heart of the dispute between school officials and union leaders.
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.
Chicago students are set to return to their classrooms this week after several days at home as the city and Chicago Teachers Union have reached a compromise on new COVID-19 mitigations inside schools.
“Although we have been negotiating hard throughout the day, there has not been sufficient progress for us to predict a return to class tomorrow,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted Sunday.
Talks between Chicago school leaders and the teachers' union resumed Sunday amid a standoff over remote learning and other COVID-19 safety measures that canceled three days of classes.
Students briefly returned to class for the first two days of this week, but since Wednesday, classes have been outright canceled as teachers refused to work in person and CPS refuses to go remote, leaving families in limbo once again.
Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union have been battling all week over whether it’s safe to have kids in the classroom as COVID-19 cases rise. The dispute has led to classes being canceled for three days as teachers refuse to work in-person, and the district refuses to go remote.
The Chicago Teachers Union on Saturday sent a new proposal to the city hoping to resolve its ongoing labor action in which its members have refused to work in schools in-person during a spike in COVID-19 cases
In the lawsuit, parents claim the union’s action is actually an “illegal strike” — language that’s also been used by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. They want a judge to order teachers to return to their schools and resume in-person learning.
The Chicago Principals and Administrators Association said it was “blindsided” by the announcement. “Principals don’t determine the resources and conditions that leave some schools ready to open and others unable to,” it said.
While a few school buildings may be open to students, Chicago Public Schools has once again canceled classes as negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union continue.