Chicago parents had 8 hours’ notice of teachers union walkout

Chicago parents had 8 hours’ notice of teachers union walkout

Not only were there few hours to find child care for working families, but the word came as most people were asleep that the Chicago Teachers Union was forcing schools to close the next day.

Parents of Chicago Public School students had little time to make other arrangements, and many wanted their kids back in school as the Chicago Teachers Union decided to walk out Jan. 5.

At 11:38 p.m. Jan. 4, CPS parents were emailed notifying them the next day’s classes were cancelled. Buildings were still open for COVID testing, vaccination and food service. Administrators were available at schools for students who were dropped off without anywhere else to go.

The last-minute shift threw parents.

Jennifer Lister has two kids in high school, and they were excited to be back in school buildings last spring, even if it meant a hybrid schedule.

“You can see the positive attitude; you can see the refreshing looks on their faces,” Lister said, “because it was a little bit of normal… Going remote again now is going to take everybody back to all that sadness from two years ago.” Lister toldthe Chicago Tribune.

The Jan. 5 walkout marked the third disruption in CPS classes from a labor dispute in 27 months. The union and school were negotiating Jan. 5 to try to get teachers back in classes.

Parent Kathryn Rose said she can’t wait for her three kids to be back in the classroom.

“Turn the air purifier up to turbo, wear your mask. I feel that it’s important to put students in rooms together, talking and laughing and asking questions,” Rose said.

Vanessa Chavez has three middle schoolers and told the Tribune they need interaction with other students. “To have the rug pulled out from under them again, it’s got the potential to be catastrophic,” she said.

CTU said it will only agree to return if the number of cases declines or if CPS meets their testing demands. In the meantime, CPS has distributed a link of safe haven sites parents can use if they’re out of child care options.

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