Chicago Teachers Union approves COVID-19 protocols as students return to face-to-face learning

Chicago Teachers Union approves COVID-19 protocols as students return to face-to-face learning

He said the agreement is just the beginning of the union’s efforts to “continue protecting the safety of our students and their families.” “It’s outrageous that teachers, school nurses, counselors and more had to endure a week of being locked out by the mayor just to get a commitment from her bargaining team to provide every student with an N95 mask in a pandemic,” Sharkey said Wednesday. “Put bluntly, we have a boss who does not know how to negotiate, does not know how to hear real concerns and is not willing to respect our rank and file enough to listen to us when we tell her we need more protection.” Jordan Freiman contributed reporting.

After a tentative agreemend was reached on Monday, teachers and staff returned to work Tuesday, while students came back to classrooms Wednesday. Nearly 89% of teachers came to work and no district-run buildings had to operate remotely, the school district, which is the third largest in the country, said. “I’m extremely proud of the courage and sacrifice of our members, who took a stand in working remotely for four days in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our school communities,” Chicago Teachers Union president Jesse Sharkey said in a statement Wednesday. 

Last week, the Chicago Teachers Union voted to switch to remote learning amid a surge in COVID-19. The school district then canceled classes, locked teachers out of their online teaching programs and withheld pay for the days teachers did not come to teach in person. Classes were canceled for five days before students returned Wednesday. The agreement includes expanded COVID testing, specific thresholds for when individual schools can switch to remote learning and requirements for the district to provide KN95 masks. It passed with 55.5% of the union voting in favor, CTU said.

Tori B. Powell is a breaking news reporter at CBS News. Reach her at tori.powell@viacomcbs.com

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