By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) – Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) in the US state of Illinois has backed a tentative deal to return to in-person learning amid coronavirus pandemic, the union said in a statement Wednesday.
The decision was taken by 13,681 members voting in favor, and came after weeks of negotiations between the CTU and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system. 6,585 members voted against the deal.
Although the sides agreed on returning to classrooms, the union voiced concern about the safety of schools.
"This plan is not what any of us deserve. Not us. Not our students. Not their families. The fact that CPS could not delay reopening a few short weeks to ramp up vaccinations and preparations in schools is a disgrace," the union said.
"We will protect ourselves by using the school Safety Committees created under this agreement to organize and see that CPS meets safety standards and mitigation protocols."
Pre-K and Cluster students and staff would return on Feb. 11, K through 5th-grade teachers and staff on Feb. 22 with students return March 1 under the framework. While 6th through 8th-grade teachers and staff to return March 1, students will return on March 8.
The proposed framework is "now a ratified agreement" between the CTU and CPS, the statement added.
Illinois has more than 1.1 million virus cases and nearly 22,000 fatalities, according to a running tally of the Johns Hopkins University.