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Teachers union wants a delay in further CPS reopening, and vaccines for high school students, as Chicago sees rise in COVID-19 cases and variants

Teachers union wants a delay in further CPS reopening, and vaccines for high school students, as Chicago sees rise in COVID-19 cases and variants

The Chicago Teachers Union is asking Chicago Public Schools to delay reopening high schools and provide vaccines to eligible students and families, even as the two sides attempt to negotiate an agreement to bring high school students back later this month. CPS has set a target return date of April 19 for high school students, who have been learning remotely for more than a year. Advertisement Referencing newer COVID-19 variants and increasing case counts in cities including Chicago, CTU President Jesse Sharkey said that the union is concerned about the virus’ spread and wants CPS to hold...

April 7, 2021
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Illinois lawmakers call on Chicago mayor to compromise with teachers to avoid a CPS strike. But Lori Lightfoot says her patience has run out.

Illinois lawmakers call on Chicago mayor to compromise with teachers to avoid a CPS strike. But Lori Lightfoot says her patience has run out.

Despite Chicago Public Schools extending a “cooling off” period through Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot started the day casting blame on the Chicago Teachers Union for the lack of an agreement over reopening schools. “We are deeply disappointed to announce that we still have not reached a deal,” the mayor said at a Thursday morning news conference, later adding, “We are out of runway. ... Time is running out.” Advertisement Lightfoot and Jackson later issued a joint update on negotiations: “As of 12:30 p.m., we have yet to receive anything back from CTU leadership since yesterday.” Thursday...

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February 4, 2021
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With possible teacher strike vote looming, CPS chief says union talks need to focus on how, not whether, to reopen schools

With possible teacher strike vote looming, CPS chief says union talks need to focus on how, not whether, to reopen schools

The Chicago Teachers Union’s governing body is expected to convene Wednesday and could send a vote to members as soon as Thursday to strike or take other collective action as early as next week, several sources told the Tribune. With that looming threat, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson held a roundtable Tuesday morning with a small group of parents inside the gymnasium at Belmont-Cragin Elementary. Asked about talks with the union and the possibility of a teachers strike, Jackson said the district is “incredibly interested” in coming to a resolution and the parties are continuing...

January 20, 2021
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CPS schools welcome students back for the first time in 10 months, even as Chicago extends its stay-at-home advisory and the teachers union continues to resist

CPS schools welcome students back for the first time in 10 months, even as Chicago extends its stay-at-home advisory and the teachers union continues to resist

When the emergence of the novel coronavirus prompted a statewide school shutdown back in March, probably few Chicagoans thought another 10 months would go by before their public schools would resume in-person classes. Now that day has arrived — at least for the fraction of Chicago Public Schools students whose families have chosen to send their children back. But with virus in much wider circulation now than when schools shut down — and Lightfoot extending a stay-at-home advisory Sunday — many parents and teachers have indicated they’d like remote learning to continue. Advertisement About...

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January 11, 2021
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CPS teachers who don’t show up when schools reopen Monday will be deemed AWOL as mayor says denying parents in-person option is ‘irresponsible and wrong’

CPS teachers who don’t show up when schools reopen Monday will be deemed AWOL as mayor says denying parents in-person option is ‘irresponsible and wrong’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Chicago Public Schools will move forward with plans to reopen schools on Monday, despite ongoing objections by the teachers union and a large group of aldermen. Further, CPS CEO Janice Jackson said staff members who don’t show up — as about half failed to do this week — will be deemed absent without leave “and ineligible for pay going forward.” Advertisement “This is not a measure we take lightly,” Jackson added. Remote learning “is not sustainable, not over the long term, because it does not serve every student equally, especially those students who are younger,...

January 8, 2021
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As grades and attendance slip, CPS places hopes on schools reopening, citing risk of ‘losing an entire generation of students’

As grades and attendance slip, CPS places hopes on schools reopening, citing risk of ‘losing an entire generation of students’

With hard return dates for elementary school students contingent upon the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago Public Schools officials are challenged by how to improve on poor attendance rates they saw during the remote fall quarter. “The consequences here are not theoretical,” said Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade. “Research tells us that if we do not act with urgency, we will be in danger of losing an entire generation of students. It is often said that access to health care should be a fundamental right of all people. Well, the same holds true for a high-quality education.”...

November 19, 2020
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CPS will phase students back into buildings starting with preschool and special education; union calls the plan ‘reckless’ and ‘illegal’

CPS will phase students back into buildings starting with preschool and special education; union calls the plan ‘reckless’ and ‘illegal’

Chicago Public Schools announced Friday that all students will continue with remote learning when the second quarter starts in November but that some of the district’s “most vulnerable” children will have the option to begin returning to schools before the end of the calendar year. In explaining their rationale for offering in-person classes first to prekindergarten and some special education students, CPS officials cited enrollment figures they released Friday that show a drop of 34% in total preschool enrollment from last year. Advertisement Plans for the new quarter were also accompanied...

October 16, 2020
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CPS students petition to shorten the class day — and end homework — during remote learning, citing headaches, stress and too much screen time

CPS students petition to shorten the class day — and end homework — during remote learning, citing headaches, stress and too much screen time

After a month of remote learning, Idalia Rizvic was getting headaches, feeling stressed and struggling to finish her schoolwork early enough to hang out with her family before bedtime. So last week, the eighth grader at Boone Elementary in West Rogers Park started an online petition to shorten the virtual school day. “Covid has been a stressful time for all, and online school adds onto that,” Idalia wrote. “We still get the same amount of work, and ‘homework’ has lost its purpose." After spring’s abrupt transition to remote learning, many students indicated they wanted more live instruction...

October 14, 2020
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CPS plan for reopening schools remains unclear as parents share remote learning woes with Board of Education: ‘It’s just not working’

CPS plan for reopening schools remains unclear as parents share remote learning woes with Board of Education: ‘It’s just not working’

Wednesday’s Chicago Board of Education meeting offered little clarity for everyone who wants to know if students will be back in classrooms when the second quarter begins in November. Allison Gorsuch, who has a child in kindergarten at Pulaski International School of Chicago, called on the board to be transparent and “release criteria for reopening as soon as possible,” including firm case numbers and positivity rates. Advertisement “Remote learning is not developmentally appropriate for kindergartners,” she said. “... I’ve watched my student and his teacher work really hard at remote...

September 23, 2020
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Porn, guns and racism: Days into the new school year, virtual classrooms have been disrupted by hackers and pranksters

Porn, guns and racism: Days into the new school year, virtual classrooms have been disrupted by hackers and pranksters

The first Chromebook wasn’t working, so Valerie Carroll went back to the school and got a new one. The replacement worked, but the first week of remote learning, her daughter’s class at Chicago’s Nicholson Elementary was derailed by images of pornography and guns. “The kids were in the class and all of a sudden you see porn, you see things that they shouldn’t see,” Carroll said. “They learned about porn, guns and threats, when they should have been learning about science, math, literacy." Advertisement From what Carroll has gathered, someone with access to the Google Meets link was able to...

September 15, 2020
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