Chicago Public Schools cancels classes for Wednesday, January 5

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A sign outside of Columbus Elementary School encourages the use of face masks on January 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Chicago Public Schools issued the following Tuesday evening:

Tonight the Chicago Teachers Union voted to stop reporting to work and given that unfortunate decision, Chicago Public Schools must cancel classes tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. Despite six months of active, good-faith discussions with the CTU, despite the fact that more than 90 percent of our staff is vaccinated, despite proven and implemented COVID-19 safety measures, and despite little evidence of in-school transmission, our teachers are not willing to report to work. We are deeply concerned about this decision but even more concerned about its impact on the health, safety, and well-being of our students and families.

CEO Martinez shared tonight that CPS is not authorized to make a District-wide shift to remote learning. To be clear, what CTU is seeking cannot be counted as an instructional day under state law and guidance. This is a work stoppage. Any CTU member who does not report to their school tomorrow will not be compensated. We will move forward to share a new plan to continue student learning with parents by the end of day tomorrow.

Important information and supports for Wednesday, January 5:
• We’ve communicated to families that all schools are closed for instruction. All classes are canceled. Principals will be on site but all athletic events and activities are canceled for tomorrow.
• All Non-CTU members are required to report to work including facilities staff, security guards, bus Aides, SECAs, crossing guards, and Nutrition Support Services employees. This is not a day off. Unless these staff members have been pre-approved to work from home or they have a scheduled day off, they are required to report to work and will not be compensated if they don’t.
• The Safe Haven Sites listed here are available for childcare. Sites will be open from 8 a.m. – 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 who arrive at school and are in need of a meal.
• COVID-19 testing will continue as scheduled.
• Vaccinations events will continue as scheduled.
• CPS will communicate next steps with families on Wednesday.

Background
• The District could provide remote learning if an adaptive pause is necessary. An adaptive pause can only be enacted in consultation with CDPH. At this time, CDPH has advised that it is safe to continue in-person instruction with the mitigation efforts the District has implemented.

Earlier, the Chicago Teachers Union released the following:

The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today, after the Union’s elected House of Delegates voted by 88% to support a resolution to return to remote education during this deadly surge in the absence of safety guarantees from the Mayor’s CPS team. 73% of the CTU’s rank and file members voted in favor of that resolution this evening after the House sent the resolution to the general membership for an up or down vote. Those votes were cast over a four-hour period in a rapidly convened vote to address a groundswell of safety concerns raised by members in recent weeks. Delegates had set a threshold of two-thirds for the resolution to be considered approved, unlike a strike vote, which requires 75%.

Tonight, as educators, parents, neighbors and community members we had to make the tough decision to support a resolution to return to remote learning in our city’s public schools. This decision was made with a heavy heart and a singular focus on student and community safety.

Let us be clear. The educators of this city want to be in their classrooms with their students. We believe that our city’s classrooms are where our students should be. Regrettably, the Mayor and her CPS leadership have put the safety and vibrancy of our students and their educators in jeopardy.

To the parents and guardians of this city, we want you to know that when you put your children in our care we put their well-being and safety first. We fight for your children like they are our own, because they are. As this pandemic continues, we will do everything in our power to ensure that our classrooms are the safest and healthiest places for your children to learn, thrive and grow.

We also understand the frustration that is felt by tonight’s decision, and assure our families that we will continue to work diligently, as we have for months, to encourage the Mayor and her CPS leadership team to at last commit to enforceable safety protections centered on the well-being of our students, their families and our school communities.

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