Chicago Teachers Union approves new COVID-19 protocols

The Chicago Teachers Union voted late Wednesday to approve a new set of COVID-19 protocols, the union announced, ending a dispute with Chicago Public Schools that resulted in several days of canceled classes. The union claimed that the new COVID-19 protocols “cover only a small portion of their proposed safety protocols” and promised to keep pushing for more health precautions.

” We are happy to have reached an agreement that ensures predictability and stability throughout the school year,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and CEO Pedro Martinez, Chicago Public Schools said together after the approval. We all agreed that we should prioritize health and wellbeing for everyone at our school. Our families, children, and staff are all part of our communities.

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.

“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. After a tentative agreement was reached Monday, staff and teachers returned to work on Tuesday while students went back to school 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.

Last week, the Chicago Teachers Union voted to switch to remote learning amid a surge in COVID-19. After this, the school district cancelled classes and locked out teachers from their online teaching programs. Teachers were also paid for days they did not teach in person. Five days of classes were cancelled before the students returned on Wednesday.

“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. To put it bluntly, our boss doesn’t know how negotiate and does not listen to real concerns. She also does not respect our ranks and files enough to listen when we say we need additional protection. “

He said that the agreement was just the start of union efforts to protect the safety of students and families. “

Jordan Freiman contributed reporting.

Tori B. Powell

Tori B. Powell works as a CBS News breaking news reporter. Reach her at

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