The Chicago Teachers Union would stop pushing for COVID-19 testing not to be done in schools across the city and would return to classrooms after a week of remote learning under its latest bargaining proposal for the city. .
The CTU on Saturday sent a new proposal to the city in hopes of resolving its ongoing labor action in which its members have refused to work at schools in person during a spike in COVID-19 cases. Due to that action, Chicago Public Schools canceled classes for three days in a row.
“That comprehensive proposal addresses all outstanding issues between CTU and the mayor, would end the Lightfoot lockout, and establish strict safety protections for students and staff for the remainder of the school year,” the union said in a statement on Saturday.
In its proposal, CTU would commit to returning to schools on Monday, but only distributing remote learning materials and registering students for COVID-19 testing. Citywide remote learning would begin next Wednesday and last until January 18, when students and staff would resume in-person learning, “unless the CDPH or the State of Illinois determines that public health conditions do not they are safe for school in person at that time. “
And the union stands ready to provide assurances to the city that this remote learning period will be short, as it corresponds to the height of the increase in COVID-19 cases in Chicago. City leaders have repeatedly raised concerns about any widespread remote learning, citing the negative impact on student learning and mental health.
The union is also reducing its demand for universal tests and is pushing for screening tests instead. Under that plan, around 10% of students would be randomly selected to be tested each week to get an idea of the spread of COVID-19 within schools. Students would be allowed to opt out of that test.
Union officials are still pushing for metrics to determine when individual schools or the entire district would go from in-person learning to remote learning. In its proposal, the CTU wants all CPS to go remote if the city’s test positivity rate increases substantially for seven days in a row.
For individual schools, remote learning would occur if 25% of teachers, or a similar percentage of students, were isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19.
This offer was approved by the elected CTU delegates on Saturday morning before being sent to the city.
Negotiations between the parties are ongoing, but an agreement has not yet been reached. Instead, both the union and the city filed complaints with each other with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board, alleging unfair labor practices.
The district canceled classes three days in a row last week, but Monday’s classes have not yet closed as the parties continue to negotiate over the weekend.
Union officials were reluctant to call this latest proposal their latest and greatest offer. They said they have made some concessions to the city and hope this situation will be resolved quickly.
In a statement Friday night, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said negotiations with the union “remain productive.” CPS in a separate statement said it is “committed to working toward an agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union throughout the weekend, and we are dedicated to working around the clock so that we can get our students back to school next time. week, hopefully Monday. “
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