The fact that Chicago Public Schools announced masks will now be optional for staff and students at schools and on buses starting March 14, you can bet there will be another face-off with the schools and the Chicago Teachers Union over Covid-safety protocols.
Remember back in January, the CTU voted to teach virtually, canceling classes for over 330,000 students citywide, leading to a fierce battle over negotiations between Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago teachers for nearly two weeks.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the union said it “will immediately be filing an unfair labor practice charge against the district in response,” regarding the new mask decision, and will request that the schools bargain over this decision.
From the Chicago Tribune:
The district said it’s still encouraging masking for students and adults and will continue contact tracing and on-site COVID-19 testing. CPS’ announcement comes three days before a March 10 court date for the district and downstate attorney Tom DeVore, who has been trying to halt the CPS mask and exclusion mandate. Parents who participated in DeVore’s litigation challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s school COVID-19 policies argued the CPS mask mandate violates their students’ due process rights.
“I am in receipt of the CPS announcement that effective Monday, March 14, 2022 the district will drop its unlawful mask mandate. It’s unfortunate CPS had to be faced with the imminent issuance of a restraining order before finding the courage to take a stand against the teachers union unlawful bargaining provisions,” DeVore said in a statement.
“I’m excited for the parents of CPS students who will now be free to exercise their right to choose what’s best for their children instead of being dictated to by overreaching bureaucracies. The rule of law exists to protect everyone in this state including all children who attend CPS. I will not stop until we are certain these unlawful mandates are never forced upon any child of this state again.”
This comes a week after New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city would end its indoor mask mandate for public schools in the city on March 7 as long as COVID-19 cases continued to decline.