Teachers union and Chicago Public Schools lock horns over COVID-19 reopening plans

By Marie Mendoza and Catherine Henderson

Medill Reports

As COVID cases continue to rise in Illinois, Chicago Public Schools’ second quarter has started, but school buildings remain empty. This comes after a month of pushback from teachers and parents after the district released a plan to bring back pre-K and some special education students.

But the most recent news release from the district still says CPS will “provide and update on its goal of resuming in-person learning at some point in the second quarter.” The Chicago Teachers Union continues to oppose the district’s efforts, asking for a formal mediator in talks about the pandemic.

As the union and the district have gone back and forth with labor complaints and reopening plans, CPS still hasn’t brought teachers to the table in any official way. The question of whether Chicago Public Schools must seek consent of its teachers before reopening has been a point of conflict since the summer.

Catherine Henderson and Marie Mendoza are social justice and investigative reporters at Medill. You can follow them on Twitter at @caity_henderson and @marieannmendoza.