*Teachers in the nation’s third-largest school district voted Tuesday for a temporary return to remote learning amid the omicron surge, and city leaders reacted by canceling classes for most of the district’s 330,000 students.
The Chicago Teachers Union voted late Tuesday to pause in-person learning in the nation’s third-largest school district and work remotely until Jan. 18, or until the current surge in COVID-19 cases dips below a particular threshold.
The move has angered Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who accuses the teachers of hindering the district’s 330,000 students unnecessarily. In a press conference late Tuesday night, she said individual school communities were experiencing the surge differently, largely based on vaccination rates, and that the district already has a plan in place that allows schools and classrooms to respond to outbreaks as needed. She said a shift back to virtual learning would disproportionately affect children of color.
“What we should not be doing is allowing CTU leadership to shut down an entire school system,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot said the union vote constituted an “illegal work action,” and that teachers who do not show up on Wednesday will not be paid.
Watch her fiery Tuesday night address below: