Chicago Public Schools to reopen Wednesday as city and teachers union reach a deal

"There does come a point when enough is enough," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Updated: January 11, 2022 - 8:14am

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced a deal with the Chicago Teachers Union that will return students to classrooms on Wednesday following a dispute over COVID-19 safety precautions in schools.

The union on Jan. 6, two days before students returned from holiday break, told instructors not to report to work amid a surge of COIV-19 cases. The school district in turn cancelled classes.

"No one is more frustrated than I am. I’m glad that we’re hopefully putting this behind us and looking forward. But there does come a point when enough is enough," Lightfoot said late Monday in announcing the deal.

Fewer than 25% of elementary and middle school students in Chicago are currently at or above the proficient level in math reading. 

Lightfoot called the union walkout "illegal" and said that teachers are "abandon[ing] kids and their families."

The deal agreed to by both parties features additional testing and plans to close schools experiencing major virus outbreaks.

Over the course of the pandemic, billions of dollars in government aid have been dolled out to schools across the country in an effort to give them the necessary tools to take appropriate COVID precautions. 

While the Omicron variant of the virus is spreading at a far more rapid rate than previous variants, deaths due to COVID remain lower than during previous surges. It is also being widely reported that Omicron causes less severe symptoms than previous versions of the virus.