CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools leaders said Wednesday that the district is making progress in getting all of its employees vaccinated – or at least offering them vaccinations.

But the number of employees who have actually gotten a shot is still low.

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As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, the latest CPS data show that less than a third of its employees have even gotten their first shot. One of the options is to go to CPS vaccination centers.

But the percentage of those who have gotten a shot is higher among teachers, and CPS Chief Executive Officer Dr. Janice Jackson said Wednesday that the district has hit a major vaccination milestone.

“We have offered a vaccine to all Chicago Public Schools employees, as well as vendors that work in our buildings,” Jackson said.

But Jackson said there is still much vaccination progress to be made. CPS’ updated data show 14,064 of a total of 47,448 total CPS employees have gotten at least their first dose.

Breaking it down further, 7,584 of the district’s 21,902 teachers have been vaccinated too.

The latest numbers are out a week after Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey sent a letter asking that “members wait to respond to CPS’ vaccine survey,” because “labor law requires that ask be negotiated.”

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“I don’t have a problem with people answering this kind of survey,” Sharkey said last week. “I do have a problem with CPS not bargaining with us.”

Bargaining is now at the center of another CTU and CPS communication snag – this one about reopening high schools. On Tuesday, the district sent a letter to parents stating April 19 as its reopening target date – and stating talks will continue regularly as both sides “strive to reach a consensus.”

But the union later blasted that email – with Sharkey accusing CPS of “distorting the status of negotiations.”

“With regard to the tension, I was confused by that. You know, we shared the letter that we sent out to parents with Jesse Sharkey personally. He provided edits to the letter,” Jackson said. “So I was confused by the back-and-forth.”

An email chain between Sharkey and a CPS staffer shows he was asked and then offered input about that CPS update, asking the district to make sure it included language that “negotiations are not finalized yet.”

So what went wrong?

“You’d have to ask him that,” Jackson said. “I can’t speak for him.”
Kozlov did ask the union. A spokeswoman referred her back to the CTU’s statement, which makes it clear there is no agreement on a return date or anything else yet.

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Meanwhile, even though the union is still asking its members not to answer the vaccination survey, CPS said 40 percent have done so anyway. But there is no update on how talks about the issue are going, and thus, it is not clear when or if CTU’s leadership will give the green light for members to respond.