By Dana Kozlov and Marisa Paras
Chicago (CBS) – Chicago public school students were facing another day of potentially canceled classes over the weekend on Friday, while city officials said talks with the teachers union “should end this weekend.”
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Late Friday evening, CPS issued the following statement:
“CPS is committed to working toward an agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union throughout the weekend, and we are dedicated to working day and night so that we can bring our students back to school next week, hopefully on Monday. We know families need to plan ahead and we will send additional communications over the weekend with status updates regarding classes on Monday.
Earlier on Friday, the CPS had sent a notice to the principals saying that classes would be canceled for the fourth day on Monday. But the CPS said the cancellation decision could be reversed if an agreement was reached with the teachers.
— Dana Kozlov (@DanaCBS2) 7 January 2022
In a joint statement late Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the CPS chief executive said: “The bargaining session continued today and lasted through the evening. Sessions remain productive but should end this weekend. ,
As CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov pointed out, CPS students have already missed three days of classes after the Chicago teachers union voted to only work remotely amid the current COVID-19 boom. Later, teachers were kicked out of their virtual classrooms.
Talks between CPS and CTU continued till late Friday, but there was no update till late afternoon.
Meanwhile, principals across the city were scrambling late on Friday to see if they would have enough staff to offer any kind of educational activities on Monday. Before classes were reported to be cancelled, some schools had already announced they would not hold classes on Monday – including Roald Amundsen High School and Lane Tech College Prep. Amundsen said there would still be opportunities for “personal enrichment activities” on Monday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, others are looking to the courts to force a solution. Legal action is accelerating as more than 300,000 CPS students sit outside the classroom and wait.
The latest legal action — filed by the conservative Liberty Justice Center on behalf of Chicago public school parents — asked a judge to back the teachers.
This happened when teachers gathered outside a school in Chicago, standing firm and saying that a safety plan was needed before returning to class.
“We demand that students have masks – KN95, at least – in these schools,” said one teacher. “We also demand that we work in a safe environment.
While the two sides continued to talk, they have also filed dispute complaints with the Illinois Board of Education Labor Relations. The district claims the remote-only vote means the union has “violated a collective bargaining agreement”, while the union retaliated on Thursday, claiming the lockdown also violated contract.
Some state lawmakers are signing a letter supporting safe return to schools.
“I’m not taking the side of CTU or the Board of Education,” said Illinois State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago). “It’s about the students.”
We also confirmed that the office of Government JB Pritzker has offered school district masks, testing and vaccine support. But so far, the city has not responded to the proposal.
“If the governor made those options available, and made those opportunities available, I think it would be a great hypocrisy for the Chicago Board of Education to shut down that aid and become territorial,” Collins said. .
A district spokesperson said the CPS is in active dialogue with all levels of government to secure additional resources. But the CTU raised doubts late Friday and said the mayor was not responding to the state’s proposal.
“Riddle me this, Madam Mayer – why aren’t you answering?” CTU representative Brianna Hambright-Hall said. “It feels like personal to me.”
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Most recently, Mayor Lightfoot and the CPS rejected the CTU’s proposal after their proposal. Lightfoot took to Twitter to call on CTU to call students back to school, saying it’s the safest place for them and that’s what parents want.
,@CTULocal1 Leadership, you’re not listening.
The best, safest place for kids to live is school. Students need to come back in person at the earliest.
That’s what the parents want. Science supports this. We will not bow down.
– Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) 8 January 2022
The school board is urging the Board of Education Labor Relations to expedite the hearing to discuss bringing teachers back into the classroom. But on Friday afternoon, a spokesperson of the board said that the matter will not be reviewed till January 31.
Meanwhile, as CBS 2’s Marisa Parra reports, the standoff with its turmoil and uncertainty is having a profound effect on students and parents. Mandy Fernandez, a senior at CPS High School, is not very happy about not having classes for three days.
“It’s very sad,” Fernandez said. “To be honest, I really miss seeing my teachers and friends.”
The constant battle between the Chicago Teachers’ Union and the CPS is such that one parent, Olga Yavorsky, decided to dodge them altogether.
“After watching all the CPS/CTU battles, we couldn’t trust the CPS and we went a private route,” Yavorsky said.
This is hardly the first time that children have dropped out of school as the CPS and the union are not face-to-face.
In fact, a complete . Is facebook page Dedicated to CPS and CTU Strike Updates – which is the teachers strike date of 2012. That strike happened at a very different time and involved different demands and different players, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel pitted against the late CTU president Karen Lewis.
There was also a strike lasting 11 school days in 2019 – involving the same people today, but who were also preceded by the pandemic and concerns about the spread of distance learning and disease.
CPS teacher and parent Antonia Lopez said that all the work by the teachers union is for the children.
“We strike for the children who are not even ours. We try to stay away to keep ourselves safe; To keep your kids safe,” Lopez said. “Of course parents are disappointed, but teachers are not babysitters.”
During this latest fight, A petition demands that CPS children go back to learning individually There were over 2,500 signatures.
And at sunset on Friday, the third day without school, Yavorsky said, “I saw my husband and I told him we made the right decision” not to enroll her child in CPS.
Meanwhile, CPS senior Fernandez doesn’t care how it goes – she just wants to go back to class.
“As long as we get to learn something, it’ll be fine,” she said.
Mayor Lightfoot has been making the rounds of cable news on Friday, but hasn’t held a local news conference since Wednesday. Once again, it remains to be seen what next week of school and this weekend’s communication will look like with the city and teachers union back on the bargaining table.
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