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Chicago district, teachers union reach tentative agreement on resuming in-person instruction

Feb. 8, 2021
The union has been threatening to strike rather than return to classrooms under what it felt were unsafe conditions.

The Chicago school district says it has reached an agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union that will enable many of its students and staff to resume in-person instruction.

Teachers have balked at returning to classrooms because of what they felt were inadequate safety measures put in place by the district. As the two sides have negotiated, plans to resume in-person instruction have been postponed.

The agreement announced Sunday must be approved by the union. It spells out the following return dates for elementary students:

Pre-K and Cluster Programs: Students and staff return on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Kindergarten - Fifth Grade: Teachers and staff return on Feb. 22. Students return on March 1.

Sixth - Eighth Grade: Teachers and staff return on March 1, 2021. Students return on March 8, 2021.

Nearly all high school classes will remain online only; the union and district will form a joint task force to address safely reopening high schools.

Prior to the start of the fourth quarter, families who chose earlier in the school year to continue learning remotely will be offered another opportunity to return to school.

The district also has agreed to expedite vaccinations for selected staff.

"We are doing everything in our power to vaccinate educators as quickly as possible in an equitable manner," the district says. "Through a partnership with Walgreens and the Chicago Department of Public Health, 2,000 pre-K and cluster staff and staff without an accommodation but who have medically vulnerable household members will be offered vaccinations this week.Through our own vaccination sites...we will be able to provide vaccination doses to 1,500 employees per week."

Under the agreement, the district will revert to online learning if Covid-19 test positivity rates reach certain levels.

The district says has invested more than $100 million on safety measures to combat the spread of the virus, including face coverings, hand sanitizer, HEPA air purifiers, and additional cleaning supplies

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