By Derrick Blakley

CHICAGO (CBS) – The end is near, or seems to be.

And with the teachers’ strike apparently moving toward conclusion, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, parents, students, and teachers are all looking forward to schools getting back to normal.

Outside Chicago Public Schools headquarters, the chants remained the same, but the subtext felt different on Thursday, day four of the teachers’ strike.

With word of a contract agreement near, Chicago Teachers Union members were counting the minutes until they return to work.

“We all want to get back to our classrooms. We all love our kids,” Kirstie Shanley, CPS occupational therapist, said.

“I’m ready. It’s time to go back to work. I’m ready now,” Lourdes Roman Gutierrez agreed.

For two hours a day this week, the Jones College Prep girls practiced tennis in Grant Park, without their striking coaches. The novelty had completely worn off.

“I enjoyed my summer, and I’m ready for it to be over. I hope everybody gets a fair deal and nobody comes out short, but I would like them to hurry up,” senior Jaszmine Parks said.

For parents, a conclusion would bring relief.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do tomorrow. Maybe we’ll be in school, maybe we won’t,” Anjoo Rai-Merchant said.

Classes won’t resume until Monday at the earliest, but whether athletics will start sooner is still up in the air.

A CPS spokesman says if the union’s House of Delegates calls off the strike Friday, technically students will be able to play. It’s still unclear whether there would be enough time to nail down logistics for Friday night’s football games.

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