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Chicago deal to resume in-person class includes more testing, KN95 masks

▶ Watch Video: Chicago public schools reopen for students after city, teachers reach deal

Students and teachers in Chicago are returning to school Wednesday after the teachers’ union reached a tentative agreement with the city over COVID-19 safety measures. This comes at a time of growing infections among children.  

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 580,000 children tested positive for the virus last week— an all-time high. Pediatric cases have almost tripled since the start of December.

The city and the Chicago Teachers Union leaders reached an agreement on Monday that would have teachers’ in-person instruction restarting Wednesday. The agreement comes after four days of canceled classes and establishes metrics where individual schools will go remote if there’s a COVID outbreak resulting in teacher absences.  

There will be more thorough contact tracing, and increased testing on staff and students. The district also plans to provide KN95 masks for students and staff.

“It’s not a perfect agreement,” Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said. “It does include some important things, how are going to help save ourselves in our schools.”

The teacher’s union will vote on the tentative COVID-19 safety agreement sometime this week.  

It is unclear if students will have to make up the missed class time.  

While it’s good news for the families of the more than 340,000 students across Chicago—more than 5,000 schools across the country have gone virtual since the beginning of the year.

In Philadelphia, over 90 schools switched to remote learning due to staffing shortages over Omicron.

One parent said he wants his daughter in the classroom to learn but also doesn’t because he doesn’t want her to get sick.

In Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest school district, classes resume today. But students and staff must test negative, and so far, more than 65,000 tests have come back positive

For parents like Sharyn Obsatz, her child will be at home for the start of this semester.

“He started having symptoms and I did a home test and he tested positive last night. He will be missing the first ten days of back to school sadly,” she said. 



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