Chicago schools return to in-person learning after tense standoff with Democrat mayor

by Benjamin Horvath

After depriving students of in-person learning for the past four school days, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) reopened Wednesday for in-person learning.

The sudden, four-day suspension of in-person learning came as a result of a standoff between far-left Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Teachers Union—a heavily-left leaning group, traditionally strongly supportive of Democrats.

This comes after the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) went on strike over shortcomings in the school district’s Covid-19 protocols, the Chicago Tribune reported.

After a week, the Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates voted on Monday night to return to in-person learning. On Tuesday, teachers were permitted to return to prepare for students’ Wednesday arrival.

“Both sides came to the agreement, the right agreement. The kids need to be back in school. The teachers need to be back in school,” one Chicago parent of a 12-year-old student told ABC7 Chicago.

Despite the return to in-person learning, neither side expressed satisfaction with the short-term agreement. The Chicago Teachers Union decried Lightfoot’s staunch support of in-person learning, while the mayor accused the union of acting illegally.

“To be clear, what the Chicago Teachers Union did was an illegal workout,” Lightfoot said on Sunday during NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “They abandoned their posts and they abandoned kids and their families,” she continued.

“You know, I’m still struck by the tone deafness of our administration,” said CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates to ABC7 Chicago. “Our mayor is not a partner.”

The short-term agreement between the two sides includes expanded testing, contact tracing protocols, isolation and quarantining requirements, and a set of metrics which could trigger a quick return back to remote learning.

Unrelated to negotiations, Lightfoot’s office announced late Tuesday night she tested positive for Covid-19 and was experiencing mild symptoms.  

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