Chicago Mayor Rejects Confederate Terms of Back to Schools

The labor dispute between Chicago educators and Mayor Lori Lightfoot showed no sign of abating over the weekend, as the mayor quickly rejected a teachers union proposal to ramp up coronavirus testing and turn around. return to live instruction on January 18.

“The best, safest place for children is at school,” said Ms. Lightfoot and Pedro Martinez, executive directors of Chicago Public Schools. “Students need to return in person as soon as possible. That’s what parents want. That’s what science backs up. We will not relent.”

Lightfoot’s and Mr Martinez’s sharp rebuttal, which also accused labor leaders of “disobedience”, came minutes after the Chicago Teachers Union released a proposal to return to classrooms in which it was considered. is a compromise. In it, the union dropped the requirement that all students take a negative test before returning to class, and said teachers were ready to return to school starting Monday, although not for direct instruction.

“This represents a shift in our perspective,” Jesse Sharkey, the union’s president, said at a news conference on Saturday. “We’re appealing to the public – and the mayor finds his heart to come up with a compromise to reopen schools.”

Hundreds of thousands of students in the nation’s third-largest school district took three days off school last week after members of the Chicago Teachers Union Vote to stop reporting to work amid concerns about the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

School district officials, who have asserted that classrooms are safe, have refused to move to online instruction, as the union suggested. Ms. Lightfoot has repeatedly accused the union of inconveniencing working families and undermining children’s academic and social progress.

Most US school districts have taken the lead with direct guidance, as the Biden administration has urged, even as the Omicron variant has disrupted local and national case records. Several major school districts, including in Cleveland and Milwaukee, have moved classes online. But the dispute in Chicago, which has not had any guidance since classes ended Tuesday, has caught on for its acrimony and daily uncertainty for parents, teachers and students. .

Under the plan outlined by the union on Saturday, Chicago teachers will distribute equipment and materials for online instruction and help parents sign up for virus testing Monday and Tuesday, then teach students remotely for the rest of next week.

The union has said that members plan to return to school on January 18, after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a date unchanged under the new proposal. The union also continues to push for all children to enroll in Covid-19 testing unless their parents opt out, a move Ms. Lightfoot has opposed. Currently, students can only be tested through schools if their parents actively allow it.

“The mayor cannot be someone who is tough and morally opposed to widespread testing, and also someone who is tough and morally opposed to any short period of time,” Mr. Sharkey said. from far away”.

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