The Daily Beast

Chicago Schools Empty for Second Day Amid Bitter COVID Feud

Jim Vondruska/Reuters

A bitter feud between Chicago officials and the city’s teachers union left classrooms across the Windy City silent and empty for the second day in a row Thursday.

As the Omicron variant shatters case count records across the country, the nation’s third-largest school district—330,000 students—is embroiled in a knock-down-drag-out fight over COVID-19 safety measures and in-person learning. Union members say they want to teach remotely until the Omicron surge subsides, so they are not coming in to schools, which are left without enough staff to get through a full school day. Some schools have already canceled Friday classes in anticipation of severe staffing shortages.

Teachers say they’ve been spitefully locked out of the software accounts that allow them to teach remotely. They’ve been tweeting under the hashtag #LoriLockout, a dig at Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Negotiators for both sides have not reached an agreement to resume classes on a district-wide basis in any form after two days of talks.

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