Classes were canceled once again, making this the fourth time, for Chicago Public Schools as Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Teachers Union continued negotiating on a potential reopening of city schools. Scores of Chicago Public Schools staff members and students have been absent from in-person classes because they have COVID-19 or are quarantining because of possible exposure.
“Out of fairness and consideration for parents who need to prepare, classes will be canceled again Monday,” Lightfoot tweeted late Sunday. “Although we have been negotiating hard throughout the day, there has not been sufficient progress for us to predict a return to class tomorrow.”
Earlier in the day, CTU tweeted, “The Union wants to reassure the parents and guardians of Chicago that we will remain at the bargaining table until we reach an agreement that will return us all to in-person learning safely and equitably.”
In the morning, Lightfoot accused the Chicago Teachers Union of abandoning “kids and their families” but said she remains “hopeful” an agreement can be reached to reopen schools Monday.
Lightfoot made the comments during a national interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which she vacillated between criticizing the union and saying she hopes to soon reach an agreement with union brass. Asked if schools could reopen Monday, Lightfoot said: “We’re working like the dickens to make sure we get a deal done today so I’m hopeful.” At another point, she said she’s doing everything she can to make sure schools reopen this week.
“To be clear, what the Chicago Teachers Union did was an illegal walkout,” Lightfoot said. “They abandoned their posts and they abandoned kids and their families.”
The issue of remote learning because of the contagion of COVID has become the main disagreement between the Chicago Public Schools Union and Mayor Lightfoot. Her administration “categorically” rejects it.
The union announced Saturday they want districtwide remote learning beginning Wednesday if school officials agree to a set of additional COVID-19 safety protocols. However, even before the union’s announcement was complete, Lightfoot shot down the idea, accusing the union of “not listening.”