CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago Public Schools has canceled classes again Friday for the majority of CPS schools as negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union continue.

Ina brief statement, CPS CEP Pedro Martinez and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the session Thursday began at noon and went into the evening and they called the meeting “productive.”

Reverend Jesse Jackson met with Mayor Lightfoot at City Hall to try to help end the impasse.

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Governor JB Pritzker appealed to the Biden administration for more tests that could allow for the expanded screening, which is one of the main sticking points for teachers and staff.

“We always have to take action to keep or communities, our students and our parents safe because the mayor doesn’t take action,” said CPS teacher Linda Perales.

Mayor Lightfoot appeared on WTTW Thursday night and said she is working to find common ground.

“When they go to the nuclear option and go on an illegal strike, it makes working together so much more challenging,” Lightfoot said.

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CPS said a small number of schools will have actual in-person instruction, but the vast majority will be closed altogether.

The district cautioned parents not to send their child to school unless they hear otherwise directly from their principal.

Meanwhile, CTU has remained mum as negotiations between both sides continue. Teachers are demanding all students and staff be tested as a condition to return to their buildings before the January 18 date agreed to in their vote earlier this week.

The union also wants KN95 masks, or those of similar quality, for all students and staff, as well as a return to last year’s agreed upon thresholds for a move to remote learning, including a 10% or higher test positivity rate.

“What happens if we don’t get an agreement? What happens is that the surge subsides. And when the surge subsides, hopefully quickly, we’re all back in the classrooms doing in-person instruction,” Sharkey said.

CTU added demands for increased staffing to alleviate a teacher shortage. Union leadership said even before the arrival of omicron, schools were understaffed.
“There is not an agreement without safety, and safety is also staffing,” said CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates. “You cannot have a building full of young people without proper supervision. We take zero pleasure in having to do a mass action like this to bring attention to the mitigations that are not in our school communities.”

The mayor accused CTU of moving the goal posts, while also blasting a union proposal to require students to opt out of testing rather than opt in. The union said the opt-out practice is being used in other districts.

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