Chicago Public Schools could resume in-person classes this week after Chicago Teachers Union leaders agreed to a new set of COVID-19 protocols. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday that teachers would return to campuses on Tuesday with in-person instruction restarting Wednesday.
The agreement still needs to be approved by the full union, but the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates voted to suspend the online learning plan they launched last week as rank-and-file membership votes. The tentative agreement comes after four days of canceled classes.
Last week’s attempt by CTU to swtich to remote learning amid a surge in COVID-19 cases prompted Chicago Public Schools to cancel all classes. The district, the third largest in the country, locked teachers out of their online teaching programs and withheld pay for the days they did not report for in-person instruction.
“This has been a very unpleasant experience,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey late Monday, according to CBS Chicago. “The CTU felt like we were asking for a set of reasonable things — obviously as teachers who have been in buildings since the beginning of the school year.”
The exact details of Monday’s agreement were not immediatley made clear. The CTU had been particularly concerned with being provided proper face coverings, the metrics that would determine when schools switch to remote learning and testing requirements, CBS Chicago reports.
As negoatioations dragged on over the weekend, a Chicago Public Schools spokesperson said the district had agreed to provide KN95 masks to students and staff, according to CBS Chicago. The district however, did reject the union’s proposal for a testing program that would allow for all students to tested for COVID-19 unless parents explicitly opted out of the testing.