Chicago Teachers Vote Against Returning

Union wants vaccinations first. The school district says it considers the action a strike
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2021 2:39 PM CST
Teachers Vote to Stay Remote
A Suder Montessori Magnet Elementary School teacher speaks to students during a virtual class outside the school earlier this month, in solidarity with pre-K educators compelled to return to the building.   (Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Public school teachers in Chicago have voted to keep holding classes online, despite the school district's plan to have them back in classrooms Monday. The Chicago Teachers Union resolution received about 61% approval from the total membership of 25,000, the Sun Times reports, or 71% approval among the members who voted. "The overwhelming majority of you have chosen safety,” the union wrote its members Sunday, saying Chicago Public Schools "did everything possible to divide us by instilling fear though threats of retaliation, but you still chose unity, solidarity and to collectively act as one."

The district and the union have batted for months about resuming in-person classes during the coronavirus pandemic, with teachers wanting to continue holding remote lessons. "We feel confident that we can safely reopen schools next week as planned," a schools spokesperson said before the vote, per WGN. Officials said they would consider teachers' absence Monday a strike, but they haven't said whether they'll cancel remote classes, too. The union wants to see COVID-19 vaccinations before members return to district buildings, per WMAQ; school officials don't have vaccine yet and said vaccinations will begin in mid-February. (After an increase in suicides, one school district wants to hurry its reopening.)

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