What Parents Should Know When CPS Classes Are Canceled Following Teachers Union’s Vote for Distance – NBC Chicago

Many parents are looking for answers on what to do on Wednesday after classes were canceled late Tuesday night following a vote by the Chicago Teachers Union to switch to distance learning without the district’s permission.

The move has caused parents to struggle to find childcare at the last minute and question how long the cancellations will last.

The district said a major plan will be released Wednesday to consider union voting.

Meanwhile, schools will remain open Wednesday, even though classes have been canceled.

So far, CPS has provided the following advice to parents:

  • The Safe Haven locations listed here are accessible for child care. The pages will be open from kl. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is available on site and a parent or guardian must be present with the child at the time of registration.
  • Food service will be available from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at all schools for students arriving at the school and in need of a meal.
  • Breakfasts and lunches that can be taken home will also be available at schools from 9 a.m. to noon for any member of the community under the age of 18 who needs a meal.
  • Chicago Park District field houses will be open during normal business hours. These facilities will be available to CPS students ages 6 and older who need accommodation on Wednesday. All programs in the Chicago Park District are taking place as planned. Visit chicagoparkdistrict.com for more information on the park’s locations and opening hours.
  • COVID-19 testing continues as planned.
  • Vaccination events continue as planned.

The rank-and-file members of the CTU voted just before midnight on Tuesday to temporarily switch to distance learning.

While the CTU instructed its members to work remotely on Wednesday, the CPS has said they will not accept the switch back to distance learning, and instead canceled all classes, sporting events and leisure activities scheduled for Wednesday.

While the union claims the switch to distance learning would be temporary and would be implemented to help keep students and staff safe in the midst of an increase in omicron cases, officials have said the move is an “illegal work stoppage”, saying that they do not intend to switch the entire district to distance learning.

“Tonight, as educators, parents, neighbors, and community members, we had to make the difficult decision to support a decision to return to distance education in our city’s public schools,” CTU said in a statement. “This decision was made with a heavy heart and a unique focus on the safety of students and the community.”

The union said it wanted its members to be in the classroom, but accused Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS management of endangering “the safety and liveliness of our students and their teachers.”

In a tweet, the union said it would urge teachers to return to classrooms under the following conditions:

-The current increase in COVID cases decreases significantly, OR

-The mayoral team of CPS signs an agreement on conditions for return, which is voted on and approved by the CTU House of Delegates.

The mayor compared the stalemate in the negotiations for a new security deal to the movie “Groundhog Day”.

“It feels like Groundhog Day that we’re here again at this point, after all we’ve been through the last two years of CTU leadership,” she said.

The mayor said in a late Tuesday press conference that CPS CEO Pedro Martinez asked CTU President Jesse Sharkey to delay the vote so CPS officials could present new frameworks for a security plan, and Lightfoot said the request was denied.

Prior to the vote, Lightfoot criticized the move as an “illegal strike” and said she wanted to focus on working together to reach a security agreement.

“The worst thing we can do is shut down the whole system. What we need to focus on is working together, ”she said. “What I would love to see CTU do is not to force an illegal work stoppage. What I would love to see them do is work hand in glove with us to get children and their families vaccinated.”

The CPS statement, released late Tuesday night, reminded non-CTU employees that they are still expected to show up for work on Wednesday and that if they do not, they will not be paid. Lightfoot and Martinez both said teachers who did not report to school buildings on Wednesday would be put on “non-pay status” until they return.

The teachers’ union has cited a growing number of COVID cases among both students and teachers as part of the reason they are seeking a temporary shift to distance learning, while also criticizing CPS for not providing adequate tests and improved masking, along with other remedies , in the wake of the omicron rise.

CTU executives have argued that the current increase makes teachers and students more vulnerable and that the district has already failed security protocols, including a holiday test program and data collection.

“I’m so mad that we have to constantly fight for the basic necessities,” said Stacy Davis Gates, the union’s vice president.

CTU has argued that the shift to distance learning should only be enforced until omicron cases begin to fall, something that Chicago public health officials say could happen as soon as the end of January.

Lightfoot ruled out such a temporary measure on Tuesday, saying her team has determined the benefits of such a move would outweigh potential disadvantages.

“Many parents in our school system cannot afford to ‘home school’ and not go to work,” she said. “These are hard-working families, many of them single parents who have to go to work to keep the lights on and to stay at home.”

Lightfoot says she is committed to continuing negotiations with the union on mitigation, but that she is convinced that a targeted approach to school closures and personal learning changes is the best way to go.

“By throwing up our hands and behaving as if we do not have this knowledge that our schools are safe, that we spent $ 100 million on making them safe, and that we have the vaccine, we do not need a one -size-fits-all-strategy, “she said.

So far, it is unclear how the district plans to continue after Wednesday.

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