Lori Lightfoot welcomes reopening of Chicago schools as bitter standoff with union

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has approved the return of in-person school classes after teachers union leaders approved a plan to operate under COVID safety protocols, ending a bitter battle that canceled lessons for five days. is appreciated.


The Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates voted on Monday night for a deal that would allow students in the nation’s third-largest school district to return to classes on Wednesday. The plan also set out metrics that would further trigger the closure of schools amid the COVID outbreak.

Many teachers were reluctant to return to individual lessons because of concerns about the rapid spread of the Omicron version. Chicago public schools rejected their proposed return to distance learning, arguing it was harmful to students, and responded by locking teachers out of online accounts.


The deal still requires approval from the consortium’s roughly 25,000 members.

The CPS informed parents in the low-income district of about 350,000 students that classes would resume on Wednesday, while teachers would report to schools on Tuesday.


In a press conference on Monday evening, Lightfoot thanked his team, district officials, parents and teachers.

“CPS put a great offer on the table that both bargaining teams discussed in detail throughout the day,” she said. “Now we’ll be able to get teachers back to class tomorrow and our kids back on Wednesday.”

She continued: “Switching completely to distance learning again without a public health reason to do so would have created and exacerbated the social, emotional and economic upheaval that our families are still facing.


“We can never forget the impact it has on the lives of our children and our families. They should always be front and center. Every decision should be with them at the fore.”

Lightfoot also underestimated the point of winners and losers in the brawl.

“Some people will ask who wins and who loses. Nobody wins when our students are out in a place where they can learn best and where they are safest,” she said.


“After being out of school for four days in a row, I’m sure many students will be excited to be back in class with their teachers and peers and that their parents and guardians can now breathe a sigh of relief.”

In a separate news conference, union leaders acknowledged that the agreement was not “perfect” and expressed their continued desire for an opt-out testing program, a key demand they were unable to secure.

“It’s not a perfect agreement, but it’s certainly something we can keep our heads up about, partly because it was so difficult to achieve,” said CTU President Jesse Sharkey. “That includes some important things that are going to help keep ourselves safe in our schools.”

Union vice president Stacey Davis Gates called the agreement “the only means of protection” for anyone who sets foot in a Chicago public school.

“The Chicago Teachers Association has once again had to, in this pandemic, build the infrastructure for safety and accountability in our school communities,” she said. “What parents don’t know is that without the workers in your building, the school staff, you have nothing.”

Davis Gates also denounced Lightfoot as “inappropriate” to lead, describing the mayor as “on a female kamikaze mission to destroy our public schools”.

Asked about the standoff at a briefing on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden remained in touch with Lightfoot and Illinois Gov.

“We have been very clear, both publicly and privately, that we want to see schools open,” Saki said.

Members of the Chicago Teachers Association and their supporters participate in a car caravan around City Hall to protest in-person learning at Chicago Public Schools on January 10, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
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