CHICAGO (CBS)– The Chicago Teachers Union has voted to approve a plan for returning to in-person learning at the Chicago Public Schools.

While the plan has been approved, CTU isn’t exactly happy with it.

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Union president Jesse Sharkey said in a statement Wednesday morning that this agreement is where discussions should have started months ago, not where they should have ultimately landed.

“Let me be clear. 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. Yet the mayor and CPS leadership were willing to do even further harm to our school district to maintain that posture. That’s how much they care about real safety for students, their families and the educators and school staff who support them,” Sharkey wrote in a letter to CTU members.

This is when Chicago Public Schools teachers and staff will return:


  • Pre-K/Cluster – Return Thursday Feb. 11th
  • K-5th Graders – Return March 1st
  • 6-8th Graders – Return March 8th


  • Pre-K/Cluster – Return Feb. 11th
  • K-5 – Return February 22nd
  • 6-8th – Return March 1st

The agreement the CTU members approved, includes a plan to vaccinate 1,500 staff members each week.

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It also lays out metrics for a district-wide 14-day return to remote learning. This will be triggered in part by a seven-consecutive-day rise in the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate.

The district has also agreed to a plan for increased ventilation and PPE materials.

In a statement Wednesday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson said the ratification of the agreement with CTU “ensures families have options to choose in-person learning and make a plan that is best for them.”

“We look forward to welcoming students as they return to their classrooms in the days ahead. This vote reaffirms the strength and fairness of our plan, which provides families and employees certainty about returning to schools and guarantees the best possible health and safety protocols. Our schools are fully prepared to safely welcome back students beginning tomorrow, and we are eager to provide additional support for the families who need more than remote learning can provide,” they said.

Meanwhile, parents and families will now have to scramble to adjust to the plan.

That’s why Jackson, Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady will host a virtual town hall meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. to help transition students back to school smoothly.

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They will answer questions about safety, school readiness, vaccinations, and more.