The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is opposed to schools returning to in-person learning and blamed the possibility of a strike on the mayor Wednesday.
Like many unions, the CTU has fought teachers being required to return to classrooms.
In December, union executive board member Sarah Chambers railed against reopening from a poolside in Puerto Rico.
In a post on Instagram — on an account that has now been deleted — Chambers wrote, “Spending the last day of 2020 by the poolside. We have the whole pool to ourselves. Then, we are going to old San Juan to get some yummy seafood mofongo.”
In the days preceding her luxury vacation, she demanded schools not reopen.
WGN reported the CTU “is threatening the possibility of a strike if the district pushes ahead with plans to reopen school buildings.”
On Wednesday, “The governing body of the Chicago Teachers Union signed off on a call for members to refuse to return to classrooms Wednesday,” according to the news station:
According to the CTU, its House of Delegates approved a measure calling for all of its members who work at Chicago Public Schools to refuse to return to teaching in person and continue working from home instead. The measure now goes to a vote by the full membership this weekend.
While the teachers are not proposing a strike, union leaders said such a step is not out of the question.
“Our members are resolved to continue working, teaching their students and doing so safely,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said. “Only the mayor can force a strike, and if it comes to that, that’s her choice. We choose safety.”
Teachers at schools across the city have opted for sitting outside to teach from computer screens:
#SafeReturnOrNoReturn Teachers from STEM Magnet and all across the city are demanding that CPS provides us with safety, equity and trust! We need safe schools before we return! @ctulocal1 pic.twitter.com/gTjvrU8UjA
— maggie sandoval (@mrs_sandoval312) January 21, 2021
“Will you be able to find a sub if I die from this?” one teacher’s sign read, apparently referring to the virus and not the freezing temperatures. “Love to teach, don’t want to die.”
Maggie Sandoval, a self-described middle school teacher, posted the photos “from Starbucks.”
Others were bundled up on the sidewalk outside Peterson Elementary:
— Pantera (@justkittystuff) January 21, 2021
At another school, teachers lined up indicated they were logging a day of just over three hours, according to a tweet:
Week 2 of @CTULocal1 educators teaching outside of their schools to protest Lori’s unsafe reopening plan for CPS students.
— Chi Student Pandemic Response (@StuPandemicResp) January 21, 2021
“They began giving classes at 7:45am and will be here until 11:00am,” it said.
While Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson have pushed to reopen schools, the union has been opposed, saying members should “work remotely until they receive the vaccine.”
“CPS has failed to notify these teachers they are eligible for the vaccine, let alone schedule appointments for them,” CTU attorney Thad Goodchild told WGN.