Chicago Public School students will resume offline schooling from Wednesday after the state’s teacher union leaders approve the district’s plan on coronavirus safety protocols on Monday.
The decision comes after a week-long discussion between the union and state officials to whether to switch to remote learning or continue offline schooling amid the surging coronavirus cases, mainly driven by the Omicron Variant.
- In Monday’s press release, Chicago’s state officials clarified that the offline schooling decision involved clauses for additional testing for the virus and laid down metrics that would govern institutes’ closures due to Covid.
- State’s Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, encourages the district’s decision to return to offline learning as she stated that “remote learning without a public health reason to do so would have led to more social, emotional and economic turmoil for families”.
- In a Tweet, the teacher’s Union said, “The Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates has voted tonight to suspend the Union’s remote work action while rank-and-file membership votes on the proposed agreement”.
- At a press conference arranged by the union leaders themselves, they acknowledged that the offline schooling deal “was not a home-run,” but it was for the betterment of the student’s teachers who wanted to resume the in-person classes.
- The deal further requires teachers to continue coming to school from Tuesday, while students will be joining the next day.
The Union’s VP, Stacy Davis Gates, said, “This agreement is the only modicum of safety that is available for anyone that steps foot in the Chicago Public Schools, especially in the places in the city where testing is low and where vaccination rates are low.”
At the moment, 4,793 is the average daily rate for the new Covid cases being reported in Chicago, the state’s official tracker confirmed. The current positivity rate in the city stands at 18.9 percent, which is slightly lower than the previous week’s 21 percent. Last week, Chicago state authorities released an order to suspend offline classes following the teachers’ union request to switch to remote schooling in the face of a Covid surge in the country. At that time, the union raised concerns and blamed public schools’ officials and Lightfoot for jeopardizing students’ safety by resuming offline learning without establishing safety protocol measures to control the virus spread.