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Chicago Teachers Union Reaches Deal With City to Go Back to School After Four Day Strike

The Chicago Teachers Union has agreed to go back to school on Wednesday after a four-day strike.

Union leaders and city negotiators reached a tentative deal on Monday evening, but it is still subject to a vote by the union’s 25,000 members.

The deal includes enhanced COVID-19 testing in schools for the rest of the school year.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot previously said she was not open to mandating the tests because it would violate parental rights, which is “morally wrong.” She stated, “we are not going to rob parents of their right and their obligation to tell us if they want testing or not on their children. It’s not going to happen. It’s morally wrong.”

Instead, the city and union will work together to gain consent from more parents.

The union had claimed that they were concerned about a lack of safety protocols in schools and demanded to go to virtual instruction for the next two weeks. A 73 percent majority of their members voted for the switch. The city had refused to comply with their demands and placed teachers on no-pay status while canceling all classes since January 4.

As Timcast previously reported, Lightfoot also claimed that what the union was doing was “illegal” and holding the education system “hostage.”

According to a report from CNN, the new deal includes “details on contact tracing and new incentives to increase the number of substitutes in the district.”

The report added that the two sides also “reached an agreement on the metrics for, at a school-based level, for when we needed to convert a classroom or school to go remote. Not surprisingly, the component parts of that depend upon staff and or student absences,” according to Lightfoot.

The union is scheduled to vote on the entire agreement on Tuesday afternoon. Additional details about the new protocols are expected to be released after the votes are tallied.

In a letter to families of students in the district, Chicago Public Schools said, “our goal moving forward will be to focus all of our attention on providing students with the rigorous, high-quality education that they deserve while continuing to help them navigate safely through the pandemic.”

Chicago is the nation’s third-largest school district, responsible for roughly 350,000 students.

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