Friday September 17, 2021
| Last update: Friday at 11:07 PM

Chicago Teachers Union to vote on tentative framework for resuming in-person learning

By staff |
February 8, 2021
Read more articles in

Chicago, IL - Late in the night of Saturday, February 6, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) received a tentative framework from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for the resumption of in-person learning. CTU members will evaluate this latest proposal and vote soon on whether to accept the offer and begin making arrangements to phase to in-person through this framework, or whether to reject the offer and face a potential lockout.

Until the rank-and-file teachers have made a decision, they will continue to teach remotely. CTU says the framework represents progress that they made at the bargaining table. They say it does not win everything that the Chicago school communities deserve but must be evaluated against the uncertainty of a potential lockout and that they only reached this point because of the strength, unity and collective action of the teachers.

In a statement that CTU released on Sunday, February 7, CTU President Jesse Sharkey said, “Because of the twists and turns that negotiations have taken under the direction of Mayor Lightfoot and CPS leadership, I am certain that there will be no further gains without additional action,” and, “It is extremely important to note that, despite what the mayor and her CPS team claim, this is not an agreement between the board and the union. Any agreement is your choice, and your choice alone, to make. This is a framework and we are a democratic union. We don’t reach an agreement until you make that decision.”

Some of the areas in which the teachers made real ground include a phased-in return to in-person classrooms and a set of health metrics to be followed in which schools will pause in-person learning if COVID-19 test positivity rates rise for seven consecutive days, rates exceed 15% positivity, and the rate on the seventh day is at least 10% higher than a week before. This will result in a pause of 14 days, or until the criteria to teach in person has been met again.

They also won an agreement to increase the number of vaccinations that CPS commits to give to teachers and prioritizes those teachers who are most vulnerable or are in areas hit the hardest by the pandemic. If this proposal is accepted, no CTU member will be required to return to in-person teaching without first having the opportunity to be vaccinated. CTU members with medical risks or who are primary caregivers for relatives with medical risk will be granted accommodation requests for telework. A separate side letter will be sent to rescind discipline for ‘AWOL’ cases. Any withheld pay and benefits and discipline concerning parent communication cases are to be handled through resolution of pending litigation.

The vote is expected to happen soon after the rank-and-file teachers have had time to review the full proposal.