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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot again denounced the city’s teachers union on Sunday for refusing to show up at school after rejecting an offer to resume remote learning instead of returning children to school.
Lightfoot criticized the Chicago Teachers Union when appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, as no agreement was reached to return it to personal notice.
“Basically, we can’t abandon science. We know that the safest place for children to live is to learn in schools,” Lightfoot told host Chuck Todd. “And we’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make our schools safer. They’re safe. We’ve got the data to demonstrate it.
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“To be clear, the Chicago Teachers Union is an illegal walk-out. “My team works every day. They’re back here on Sunday.”
When asked directly whether the schools would resume Monday morning, Lightfoot responded, “We are working as Dickens to make sure we have a deal today.” “So I stay in hope.”
Lightfoot said it had seen “an unprecedented level of supportive activity in support of individual learning” in response to a recent walk-out, similar to a previous move by the teachers’ union.
“Parents are outraged, and they are expressing their outrage to the Teachers Union. It’s a different dynamic than ever before,” Lightfoot said, noting how 70% or more of the school district qualifies or reduces meals. The mayor argued that showing how many children live in poor and working-class homes, many are single parents and mostly women of color.
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“We’ve got a tremendous amount of parental activism. They’re writing letters, emails, they’re protesting, they’re holding press conferences,” Lightfoot said. “This walkout of the Teachers Union is illegal and has a ripple effect not only on students’ learning and their social and emotional well-being but also on families.”
“This is an untenable situation and completely and completely avoidable,” the mayor added. “I’m on behalf of parents who fight every day to get our kids back to school.”
About 92 per cent of teachers and staff have been vaccinated in the district, according to Lightfoot.
Lightfoot and his team rejected a revised proposal from Saturday’s union that required all students to produce negative tests before returning to class. The union says teachers are willing to return to school buildings Monday if not for personal instruction.
Hundreds of thousands of students were out of the classroom for three days last week after teachers refused to report to duty because of concerns over the Omicron transformation.
Lightfoot said its office sent a school-based metric to the Chicago Teachers Association on Tuesday – before union workers walked out. He dismissed it without a detailed explanation, Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot said the mayor’s team turned to a point-by-point response Saturday night that dealt with school metrics, testing and many other issues they disagree with. The biggest problem is Remote Testing and Remote Learning, which is categorically rejected by Lightfoot’s Office.
Lightfoot said, “We are not just sitting around and letting COVID destroy through our schools.” “When we needed to close a classroom or close a school, we did it.”
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker secured a deal on Saturday to make 350,000 rapid antigen tests available for purchase by Chicago Public Schools. Lightfoot said the city’s public health directors have found additional tests and have become aware of the teachers’ union as negotiations continue. The mayor said the school’s test required union cooperation that would not allow school nurses to be activated.
Lightfoot said the district has seen 52 outbreaks, classified as two or more cases, but on average 2.5 children tested positive for cases believed to be related to schools.
Lightfoot said: “We are following science. “People are scared. They’re scared. We get it.