CHICAGO (CBS) — It is unclear whether Chicago Public Schools students will return to in-person learning next month. The district is ready, but the next round of teachers is refusing to come back on Monday. Some teachers who haven’t returned are already locked out online.
Recorded online teaching sessions show art teacher, Linzi Melchor keeping her students engaged. While she looks forward to the day she will teach again at West Ridge Elementary, right now, she is refusing to step foot inside.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Mainly Clear And Not As Cold Sunday Night
“I’m considered AWOL, absent without leave,” she said.
CPS told Melchor to get back to the classroom at the start of this month. She decided to remain in front her camera teaching virtually, but now that’s not an option.
“I’m being prevented from teaching my class,” she said. “I am locked out of google classroom.”
Teachers at West Ridge and other schools have sat in the cold with computers teaching on CPS property, but come Monday all of CPS’s kindergarten through 8th grade teachers are expected to return to in-person learning
“I love teaching,” Melchor said. “I love teaching art. Let me teach my students, but let me teach them in safe way.”
The Chicago Teachers Union says many teachers feel uneasy and unsafe. Melchor and others want to continue remote learning.READ MORE: At Least 14 Shot, 1 Killed In Weekend Violence In Chicago
The fear is if they do not enter the building they too will be locked out of online teaching, resulting in what equates to a strike.
“They’re trying to force myself and my colleagues into the school building during a global pandemic,” Melchor said.
CPS CEO Janice Jackson insists it is safe to return. This week she said students are losing out the most by not being in classrooms.
“I think the voice of parents who have chosen in person learning has not been amplified,” Jackson said. “It’s actually been drowned out a bit.”
Melchor says she believes her students have missed out essential learning since her lock out. And it’s unclear how much she’s losing financially.
“I’ve been told that i’m going to be docked pay, but I’ve been continuing to work every day creating lesson plans,” she said.
CPS is insisting if teachers don’t return Monday, it is an illegal strike. CTU leaders say it’s only a strike if teachers can’t log on. And some teachers are already locked out. The two sides remain deadlock.MORE NEWS: Man, Woman Shot When Fights Breaks Out At Gathering At Longwood Manor Home
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