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Chicago's teachers' union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have finally reached an agreement on COVID safety to enable children to return to schools after four days of classes were canceled.

But fed-up parents face yet another day of having to arrange childcare - as schools will remain closed on Tuesday, to give teachers time to 'plan' for Wednesday's reopening.   

The plan will both lead to a return to in-person learning and set conditions by which any individual school would go back to learning remotely that would be determined by staff absences, students in quarantine or a high community transmission of COVID. 

Further details on those exact metrics have yet to be shared. 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot was pleased to return to in-person learning and thank parents for supporting her.   

'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.' 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke in a press conference late Monday night hailing the new deal

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke in a press conference late Monday night hailing the new deal

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey was not entirely approving of the deal but said it was enough to get teachers back to school

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey was not entirely approving of the deal but said it was enough to get teachers back to school

CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates hailed the agreement as 'the only modicum of safety' in schools but called Lightfoot 'unfit to lead'

CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates hailed the agreement as 'the only modicum of safety' in schools but called Lightfoot 'unfit to lead'

She struck a conciliatory tone after previously branding the strikes 'unlawful,' and refusing to pay teachers who'd refused to show up in school after claiming the latest COVID surge was putting their health at risk. 

Meanwhile, CTU leaders said Monday night hailed new measures to increase testing for COVID in schools and secured new KN95 masks for staff and students. 

However, they were disappointed with the inability to get opt-out testing and some other aspects of the agreement. 

Currently, students aren't forced to test, and can opt-in to it. The union wants testing to become mandatory, with students forced to opt-out of it if they wish to avoid being swabbed.  

'It was not an agreement that had everything, it's not a perfect agreement, but it's certainly something we can hold our heads up about, partly because it was so difficult to get,' controversial CTU President Jesse Sharkey, who had called Lightfoot 'relentlessly stupid' previously, said. 

CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates hailed the agreement as 'the only modicum of safety' in schools but called Lightfoot 'unfit to lead.' 

'The Chicago Teachers' Union once again, in this pandemic, has had to create the infrastructure for safety and accountability in our school community,' Davis Gates said. 'This is the second January in a row where we have had to be held hostage, quite frankly, in hostage negotiations.'

She added: 'What parents don't know is that without the workers, the school workers in our building, you don't have anything. This mayor is unfit to lead this city. And she is on a one-woman kamikaze mission to destroy our public schools.'  

Sharkey made the harsh 'relentlessly stupid' comment during a press conference Monday morning nearly a week after the union made the highly-criticized last minute decision to cancel classes and push for remote learning as COVID continues to spike. 

The avowed socialist union leader, who has led the CTU since 2014, has been  branded a hypocrite for driving a Tesla and living on a $1.5 million estate. 

'We feel like we're at a point where we don't have enough at the table to be able to go back to the people who, frankly, have sacrificed a lot at this point, and confidently say, 'This is something that can help us ensure our safety,' Sharkey said Monday. 

'The mayor is being relentless, but she's being relentlessly stupid, she is being relentlessly stubborn.'   

The teacher's union and city officials including the mayor have been entangled in disagreements since the union voted to cancel in-person classes at 11pm Tuesday and push for remote learning over COVID fears. 

Students in the city have missed four days of instruction and now face a fifth as no agreement has be reached to get them bac to school for Tuesday. 

Chicago Teacher's Union president Jason Sharkey called Mayor Lightfoot 'relentlessly stupid' in a press conference on Monday

Chicago Teacher's Union president Jason Sharkey called Mayor Lightfoot 'relentlessly stupid' in a press conference on Monday 

Chicago public schools have been cancelled for four days as the union and city continue to argue on the safest way to continue instruction (Pictured: A sign taped to the front door of Pulaski International School of Chicago on Tuesday, January 5)

Chicago public schools have been cancelled for four days as the union and city continue to argue on the safest way to continue instruction (Pictured: A sign taped to the front door of Pulaski International School of Chicago on Tuesday, January 5) 

 Starkey said that an agreement is being held up by the mayor. 

'We have said all along there are three elements to a potential settlement: The question of remote instruction, the question of widespread testing and the question of a metric that would allow individual schools to flip to remote if there is an outbreak at the school,' he continued. 

'We have said all along there are three elements to a potential settlement: The question of remote instruction, the question of widespread testing and the question of a metric that would allow individual schools to flip to remote if there is an outbreak at the school,' he continued. 

Lightfoot and other city officials including Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and Chicago Schools CEO Pedro Martinez have continued to insist that in-person classes remain the best option for students but have agreed to negotiate with the union. 

Lightfoot's latest update struck a more considered tone than last week's condemnation of teachers, which saw her brand their behavior 'unlawful.' 

'Out of fairness and consideration for parents who need to prepare, classes will be canceled again Monday,' Lightfoot tweeted on Sunday. 'Although we have been negotiating hard throughout the day, there has not been sufficient progress for us to predict a return to class tomorrow.' 

Parents have slammed the socialist leader of the CTU as he continues to defend the last minute decision to shutter schools last week by claiming 'going in puts students and families at risk.'   

Just 400 positive COVID cases - about 70% students and 30% staff- were reported Tuesday morning after classes returned following the winter break.   

Like all other large cities in the US, Chicago has been hit by a recent surge of COVID cases, blamed on the super-infectious Omicron variant.

A total of 5,260 new cases were recorded across the city on Friday, the most recent data available, with just over one in five COVID tests coming back positive.

Meanwhile, 90 people were in hospital on Friday - a 16% drop on the week before - and 11 people died of COVID on the same day.

Vaccination rates of people who have had at least one dose of COVID vaccine now sit at 72.3%.  

Chicago Public Schools is the third-largest school district in the nation serving 350,000 students (Pictured: A sign is displayed on the front of the headquarters for Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday, January 5)

Union bosses noted on Sunday soaring cases among teachers to justify the ongoing closures

Union bosses have noted soaring cases among teachers to justify the ongoing closures 

Public health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady insisted that the safety protocols set in place for Chicago Public Schools were sufficient to protect the children and staff

Public health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady insisted that the safety protocols set in place for Chicago Public Schools were sufficient to protect the children and staff

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Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10389255/Chicago-teachers-union-strike-deal-COVID-safety-Mayor-Lightfoot-schools-reopen.html

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Chicago Teachers Union FINALLY strikes deal on COVID safety with Mayor Lori Lightfoot after four days of closures - but schools will STILL remain shut tomorrow so teachers can ...

Source:Daily Mail

Chicago Teachers Union FINALLY strikes deal on COVID safety with Mayor Lori Lightfoot after four days of closures - but schools will STILL remain shut tomorrow so teachers can ...