Chicago Public Schools cancel classes for third straight day as battle with teachers union continues

Lori Lightfoot goes off on Chicago Teachers Union in MSNBC interview

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot explains her frustrations with the Chicago Teachers Union as it causes more school closures.

The Chicago Public Schools have canceled classes on Friday, marking the third straight day that the district has canceled classes due to an ongoing feud with the teachers union over coronavirus safety measures and remote learning.

Pedro Martinez, the chief executive officer for the Chicago Public Schools made the announcement on Thursday evening and told parents to plan for another day without classes unless they hear otherwise from their child’s principal.

“You SHOULD NOT plan to send your child to school, unless your child’s principal tells you that students can come to school for in-person activities,” Martinez said. “Our schools are the best, safest place for students to be during this pandemic, and we are working tirelessly to get everyone back in class every day.”

A sign is displayed at the entrance of the headquarters for Chicago Public Schools on January 05, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
((Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images))

Martinez added that the CPS is working “tirelessly” to get students back in the classroom.

“We will continue working with CTU to resolve this situation and will provide you with ongoing updates as the week continues,” Martinez said.

The announcement to cancel classes for a third straight day comes after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted the Chicago Teachers Union and accused them of attempting to hold students’ education “hostage.”

“I will not allow [the Chicago Teachers Union] to take our children hostage. I will not allow them to compromise the future of this generation of CPS students. That is not going to happen,” Lightfoot said during a Wednesday night press conference. 

Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez outlines COVID-19 response efforts during a press conference at City Hall last week. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
((Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images))

Responding to a demand by the Chicago Teachers Union that the school district require all “staff, students, vendors, and volunteers” to produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test before returning to in-person learning unless parents opt out, Lightfoot said that the CPS would not go that route.

“We are not going to rob parents of their right and their obligation to tell us if they want testing or not on their children. It’s not going to happen. It’s morally wrong,” Lightfoot said.

On Tuesday, the Chicago Teachers Union voted to switch to remote learning because of increasing coronavirus cases in the area, stating that the union would go back to in-person learning when either coronavirus cases “substantially subside” or the city signs an agreement on “conditions of return.”

Former teacher Tara Stamps speaks ahead of a car caravan where teachers and supporters gathered to demand a safe and equitable return to in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago, IL on December 12, 2020. (Photo by Max Herman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
((Photo by Max Herman/NurPhoto via Getty Images))

The CPS responded by canceling classes for students on Wednesday and refused to allow remote learning.

While schools within the CPS system are not providing educational services such as in-person learning, there are 25 “Safe Haven” sites across the Chicago area along with meals available at all schools.

Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report

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