CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago Public Schools high schoolers are supposed to return to the classroom next week.
But teachers may refuse to work in-person Wednesday if there’s no deal between the district and the union.
CPS sent a letter to parents Monday, saying it is “firmly committed” to reopening high schools next week, but once again last-minute negotiations with the teachers union threaten to derail that goal.
The Chicago Teachers Union has said they will not return Wednesday unless agreement has been reached in several areas.
Scheduling is a big issue, particularly in schools that have a large number of students returning. Union officials want those schools to split into one-day-a-week cohorts.
“I’m hopeful that their starting to see that it’s in their best interest to work with us on these questions because it is a win-win,” said Jackson Potter, a member of CTU’s bargaining board.
Also, with an increasing number of cases among young people, union leaders say eligible students and their families must be vaccinated.
CPS meanwhile in a letter to parents saying negotiations continue: “Over the weekend, we have been engaged in productive discussions with CTU leadership to ensure a smooth transition back for our students and staff. Those discussions will continue tomorrow, and we are working to reach an agreement as soon as possible.
“Over the weekend we made progress on a number of areas and have general alignment on topics including the scheduling models schools will use and safety protocols to keep students and staff safe in high school buildings. We have also agreed that high school staff will be able to work on Wednesdays, which is a remote day for all students, and we will work to support vaccinations for students when they are eligible and doses are available.”
A recent CPS survey shows a majority of high school parents prefer their children stay remote. A group of those who want them to return, however, will be rallying at CTU headquarters later Tuesday.