On Tuesday, the Chicago Teachers Union voted to not show up for in-person teaching and instead decided to switch to remote learning. As a result, the city canceled classes for all 330,000 Chicago Public School students Wednesday, according to USA Today.
The union also voted to work remotely until Jan. 18 or until coronavirus cases decrease below a specific threshold and advocated that CPS requires negative tests for students and faculty before in-person learning returns. Out of the 25,000 members that are a part of the teachers union, 73 percent of them voted for remote learning.
As you would imagine, the mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, and other public officials were not happy.
From the Chicago Tribune:
As they waited for the outcome of the union vote Tuesday, Lightfoot, CPS CEO Pedro Martinez and public health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady held a news conference where they again insisted that, despite the current spike in cases, children need to be back in school and that it’s a relatively safety environment with proper mitigation.
Lightfoot also warned teachers who don’t show up Wednesday will be placed on no-pay status — a move that would likely escalate the dispute.
“I have to tell you, it feels like ‘Groundhog Day,’ that we are here again,” Lightfoot said in reference to past strife with the CTU, including the 2019 teachers strike and then several rounds of thwarted school reopening attempts last year. She also accused union leaders of “politicizing the pandemic.”
“There is no basis in the data, the science or common sense for us to shut an entire system down when we can surgically do this at a school level,” Lightfoot said.
In the past couple of days, cities across the country have reported record numbers of COVID-19 cases and Chicago is no different. This week in Chicago, hospitalizations are up 22% from last week, according to USA Today.
And based on data from CPS, about 2,000 adults and 8,000 students were quarantined Tuesday. Although CPS CEO Pedro Martinez says schools remain safe for students and faculty.
More from the Chicago Tribune:
In a message to parents late Tuesday, CPS officials apologized for the possible inconvenience. They said that if CTU approved its work action, students should not report to buildings Wednesday, though Martinez later clarified that students will not be turned away and will be looked after if dropped off. Schools will also be open for regularly scheduled COVID-19 testing, but there would be no remote instruction Wednesday, and after-school activities, sports and other school events would be canceled.
Beyond Wednesday, Martinez said the district will “have a plan specifically for parents that will come out (Wednesday) in a very timely fashion about what the path forward is. I am still committed, though, to coming up with an agreement with the CTU.”
The commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health was also not pleased with the Chicago Teachers Union’s decision to refuse in-person learning and even though she is worried about the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Chicago, she also voiced that schools should be, “first to open, last to close,” according to USA Today.
As you can see, public officials are big mad by the Chicago Teachers Union decision to teach remotely.
Mayor Lightfoot said that each school in the district is handling the recent surge in cases in their own way based on the people vaccinated and that CPS’ plan allows for schools to respond to outbreaks and that virtual teaching will hurt students of color more than any other group, citing that,” achievement gaps are real and they’re affecting kids of color at an exponential rate,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Despite Lightfoot’s frustration with teachers, she still expected teachers to show up on Wednesday.
But as seen by these tweets, teachers were a no-show.