Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot along with Chicago public school officials could not reach an agreement on Friday with the Chicago Teacher's Union over when and how to reopen schools, Fox News reports.
The Chicago Teachers Union rejected the city’s "last, best and final" offer, as their demands for concessions were not agreed upon, union president Jesse Sharkey said.
Chicago students have not been in school since March, and at every turn, the CTU has refused to negotiate with the Chicago Public Schools to reopen. Demands, threats to strike, and now an ask that teachers all get vaccinated before going back to work have accompanied every ask by the school district for teachers to provide a real education to Chicago's kids, who are floundering with the remote learning set-up.
"To say we're deeply disappointed that the mayor has chosen to end negotiations and instead move to lock out educators and shut down schools rather than work out our differences is an understatement," Sharkey wrote in a statement.
Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson say they have not yet received a formal rejection from the union in writing.
"We have a moral obligation to ensure every child can thrive even in the midst of this crisis. We cannot allow our children to suffer. We cannot let them down in this moment. We must act. All of us: leaders, educators and parents. And we are," Lightfoot tweeted Friday.
"We must respect the tens of thousands of CPS parents—most of them Black and Latinx—who feel their children need in-person instruction. Our plan, endorsed by leading public health experts, gets kids AND staff back safely," she continued.
Lightfoot has claimed that her plans to reopen in-person schooling follow guidelines presented by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the city's Department of Public Health.
Schools in Chicago were supposed to have opened already, but the teacher's unions have put their foot down and refused to allow staff to return until their extensive COVID-19 precautions are actualized. They city has taken incredible precautions already but the union seems determined to stay out of school.
Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson tweeted Friday that the district has spent more than $100 million on health precautions and protective equipment to protect staff from infection, but the unions still refuse to return.
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