CPS classes were canceled on Monday, but Lightfoot says CTU negotiations “must be concluded this weekend”

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Classes are already canceled Monday for the vast majority of Chicago’s 270,000 public school students, unless there is a major movement in negotiations between the district and the Chicago Teachers Union over the weekend, officials said on Friday.

Principals of many schools, including some of the city’s larger high schools, informed parents throughout the day on Friday that the return to in-person learning would likely have to wait as the city’s dispute with the union on COVID-19 protocols amid wave of Omicron variants threatening to extend to a fourth day of school.

“The bargaining sessions continued today and continued into the evening. Sessions remain productive but must end this weekend, ”Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez said in a statement.

Another district statement said officials wanted to get the children back to school, “hopefully on Monday. We know families need to plan ahead and we will send additional communication over the weekend with a update on the state of the courses Monday. “

The district told principals in an email update to inform families that there would be no school on Monday, though “if an agreement is reached with CTU over the weekend , we can reverse that decision and hold classes on Monday, “according to a copy of the memo shared with the Sun-Times.

At a press conference on Friday night, Tennille Evans, a CTU organizer, declined to say whether union leaders and the PSC were close to a deal.

“We are ready, once again our officers are at the negotiating table right now,” Evans told reporters. “[We’re] ready to make an agreement on a security measure.

Students have been back home since Wednesday after union members voted not to show up to schools for fear of safety protocols during the COVID-10 pandemic, including whether all students should be required to take a health test. coronavirus negative before returning and how many employees or students absences would force a school to close.

The union said it wants to resume remote work until the current wave subsides, but the district has instead blocked teachers from their emails and other work accounts and told schools not to organize online courses. Martinez reiterated in a meeting with directors on Friday that the district is very keen on classes not resuming until the union agrees to return to work in person, meaning no distance courses will be offered during the week. next, the source said.

Whitney Young Magnet High School Principal Joyce Kenner told families in an email that “based on extremely limited staff, we cannot open our school for teaching or activities on Monday January 10th. . We hope that this impasse will be resolved in the near future. “

Bronzeville Classical Elementary sent a notice that schools would be closed until next Friday, January 14, although principal Nicole Spicer said she “will update BCS families if that date changes.” Meanwhile, she said staff would only provide “freelance work projects” and “not hand out devices during this 8-day work stoppage.”

This schedule was not confirmed by the district and other directors only referred to Monday’s plans.

From Friday and until next week, schools that expected between 20% and 60% of their staff to show up in their building were allowed to organize “academic enrichment” such as activities. computer lab, sports, games, art, tutoring or writing exercises, but no new lessons, notes or recorded attendance. Principals with 69% or more of their expected teachers could hold regular classes and record attendance.

Mount Greenwood Elementary School in the far south told families it has enough staff to resume full classes in person on Monday. Those who have COVID or have been exposed must remain in quarantine, but others can enter, Principal Mary Reidy said.

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