Chicago Teachers Union proposes extended school year and optional reopening until teachers are vaccinated: ‘We are seeking to negotiate a settlement here’

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The Chicago Teachers Union is proposing that Chicago Public Schools delay in-person learning until all employees have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and for the union and school district to develop a mutually agreed-upon schedule for an extended school year.

In the meantime, the union proposes, CPS could allow in-person learning by pairing staff who opt in voluntarily with students who want to return.

CPS officials have not responded to a Tribune inquiry about the proposal.

The union formalized its proposal on Tuesday, after district leaders indicated they’d forge ahead with plans to start bringing students back to schools next week despite a letter of opposition from a supermajority of city council members and a coordinated effort that saw absences from more than half of teachers called back to school Monday.

Union leaders have promised to support members who choose to teach remotely rather than report to schools because of ongoing concerns about COVID-19 safeguards. Though CPS approved remote-work accommodation requests for all 527 employees with an underlying medical condition, it denied more than 80% of requests that cited a household member’s medical condition and nearly 89% of requests citing child care challenges, according to data released last week.

Overall, 60% of staff members who did not have accommodations approved showed up Monday, including seven out of 10 paraprofessionals. About 5,800 staff members were expected to work in person this week, with the first students, including pre-kindergartners and some special education students, due to return for in-person classes Jan. 11.

Region: Decatur,Feeds,City: Decatur,Region: Central

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January 7, 2021 at 12:06AM

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