Chicago schools to reopen after city, teachers union reach deal

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FILE โ€“ In this Jan. 11, 2021, file photo, preschool students eat lunch at Dawes Elementary in Chicago. Pressure is building on school systems around the U.S. to reopen classrooms to students who have been learning online for nearly a year. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool, File)

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UPDATED 7:00 AM PT โ€“ Monday, February 8, 2021

Schools in Chicago are set to reopen this week after city leaders reached a tentative agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union. Mayor Lori Lightfoot made that announcement on Sunday.

Schools are set to begin a phased return to in-person learning. The agreement reportedly meets many of the unionโ€™s demands, including vaccinations for teachers who want them and language that will allow teachers to take unpaid leave if they choose to stay home.

Mayor Lightfoot called it a victory for families.

โ€œSo, let me express my gratitude to our parents and our students for their fearlessness and for drawing superhuman patience to navigate everything thatโ€™s been thrown at you over this last year,โ€ she stated. โ€œThis entire school year has been incredibly hard on you and your families and I understand that.โ€

Under the agreement, per-kindergarten students are expected to return Thursday while kindergarten through fifth grade students will return beginning in March.

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