Union leaders send Chicago schools reopening plan to members

A plan to get students in the nation’s third-largest district back into classes amid the coronavirus pandemic has cleared another hurdle

But the union’s house of delegates didn’t issue a recommendation on the plan with more teacher vaccinations and metrics outlining allow school closures when COVID-19 infections spike. Union members will vote Tuesday. If they approve it, the first batch of CPS students are expected in classes on Thursday and others in K-8 gradually returning over the next few weeks.

Both sides have been negotiating for months over a plan to gradually bring back students in the roughly 340,000-student district, the nation’s third-largest. The issues included vaccinations, metrics to gauge school infections and accommodations for teachers who have a family member more susceptible to coronavirus.

Union officials argued the district’s plan, which includes air filters in classrooms and voluntary COVID-19 tests for teachers, didn’t go far enough. CPS officials have said opening schools is safe and that remote learning isn’t working for all students, including many Black and Latino students who make up the majority of the district.

The union had said that if CPS locked out teachers, as the district has done previously, they would picket. Such a move would have cut off virtual learning for all students.