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Chicago teachers reach a deal over COVID-19 protocols and will resume classes this week

What you need to know about the new Chicago teachers deal

Students at the Mt. Greenwood Elementary School in Chicago,
Students at the Mt. Greenwood Elementary School in Chicago depart after a full day of classes Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.
Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Teachers Union announced a deal Monday that will allow students to return to the classrooms after a massive dispute over safety measures amid the pandemic, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Why it matters: The deal represents an end to one of the most contentious battles over in-person learning in the country right now, potentially paving the way for other cities to resume in-person learning amid the pandemic.

What happened: Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools were at a standoff this week due to COVID-19 protocols, as I reported for the Deseret News.

  • The union wanted schools to have remote learning because COVID-19 cases are rising in Chicago.
  • Chicago wanted to have children in classrooms.

The news: The new deal was approved by the CTU’s House of Delegates Monday night, according to The New York Times.

  • There will be additional COVID-19 testing in schools.
  • The schools will have new metrics to help decide if they should close down or not.

Quotes: “No one is more frustrated than I am,” said Lightfoot after the deal was reached, per The New York Times.

  • “I’m glad that we’re hopefully putting this behind us and looking forward. But there does come a point when enough is enough.”
  • “We can never forget the impact on the lives of our children and their families. They must always be front and center,” Lightfoot said. “Every decision has to be made with them at the forefront.”
  • Stacy Davis Gates, the union’s vice president said in a statement: “This agreement is the only modicum of safety that is available for anyone that steps foot in the Chicago Public Schools, especially in the places in the city where testing is low and where vaccination rates are low.”

Next up: Teachers are expected to return to class Tuesday. Students will resume class Wednesday.