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Some charter schools, teachers agree on reopening plans; CTU wonders why CPS cannot do the same

Some charter schools have postponed reopening and others are working virtually until a full agreement is reached.

CTU members may refuse to work in-person if an agreement is not reached with CPS.
Chicago Teachers Union members may refuse to work in-person if an agreement is not reached with Chicago Public Schools.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Teachers working for some charter school operators have reached agreements about reopening schools while the Chicago Teachers Union continues to negotiate with Chicago Public Schools.

Charter operators Passages, Acero and Latino Youth are moving ahead on schedules different from Chicago Public Schools, some postponing reopening plans altogether and others working virtually until a full agreement is reached.

“They have been able to get agreements based on safety and humanity … the demands are very similar, if not the same.” CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said Friday. “The only block in this, the only person choosing a lockout of educators is the mayor and the Chicago Public Schools.”

Passage Charter School and the union agreed the school's reopening plan would follow the Department of Public Health's metrics and will only consider reopening if metrics such as test positivity rates are at a minimum in the areas students live.

“We stood together, and we said that we would only go back if these things were met. And our employer agreed because there's a sense of humanity and understanding that we all need to protect the people that we work with and the communities that we serve,” Passages teacher Ann Stella-Tayler said.

Teachers at Latino Youth High School are still bargaining while continuing to teach remotely. They were asked to go back to the classroom in August.

All instructors decided not to return to the building, teacher Juan Tolentino said. So far, Tolentino said no one's pay has been affected by that decision and no one has been disciplined.

CPS teachers are voting on a resolution that would see them refuse to work in person until an agreement is reached between the CTU and CPS, a move the district said would be an “illegal strike.”

About 90 preschool and special education teachers and clinicians who have refused to report to their schools have been locked out of virtual learning and had their pay withheld.