Chicago Teachers Union narrowly votes to approve new coronavirus measures allowing in-person learning

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The Chicago Teachers Union narrowly voted Wednesday evening to approve a safety agreement between the union and the district supporting in-person classes. 

The agreement came as children returned to classes on Wednesday in the nation’s third-largest school district following five days of canceled classes as a result of a standoff with the teachers union on coronavirus protocols.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot gets a COVID-19 booster vaccine at Michele Clark High School on Nov. 12, 2021 (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


The safety plan approved by the union includes expanded testing and metrics to shut down individual schools during outbreaks if the outbreak infects 25% of staff.

Leaders of the union gave their tentative approval two days earlier allowing children to return. They urged members to accept it, acknowledging that teachers didn’t get initial demands, including a commitment to use remote learning district-wide during a surge of COVID-19 infections.

Union President Jesse Sharkey said the agreement “wasn’t a home run” but was “as much as we could get right now.”

Students at the Mt. Greenwood Elementary School in Chicago depart after a full day of classes

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