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CPS Reports 'Tentative Agreements' With CTU In Four Areas As Reopening Negotiations Continue

CHICAGO (CBS) -- After weeks of negotiations over how to safely reopen schools, it appears the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Teachers Union have made "significant progress" toward resuming in-person classes.

However, it's still unclear if the two sides will be able to reach a deal in time for Monday, when CPS still plans to bring tens of thousands of students back to classrooms.

In a statement Saturday evening, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson reported the district has "reached tentative agreements on four of several outstanding issues, which is an important step toward reaching an overarching agreement that will ensure students are able to receive the high quality education they deserve."

According to CPS, the four areas include: health and safety protocols, ventilation, contact tracing, and health and safety committees.

"The commitments outlined in these four agreements align with the latest public health guidance, and we are encouraged by the progress that we have made. There is still significant work that needs to be done on the remaining several open issues. We must make additional, meaningful progress today and tomorrow as time is running out," Lightfoot and Jackson said in a statement. "Our teams remain at the bargaining table with the goal of reaching a sensible agreement that allows Chicago's students and teachers to safely return to the classroom, and we will keep families updated as the work continues through the weekend."

A CTU spokesperson could not immediately confirm the four tentative agreements, but union sources earlier said there had been "significant progress" on Saturday.

Amid the ongoing negotiations, CTU held a car caravan Saturday outside Simeon High School, where teachers and staff said they don't want to return to classrooms until it's safe to do so.

There was a similar scene in Pilsen, where drivers lined up and drove past Orozco High School to show their support for teachers. They honked horns and displayed signs hoping to persuade Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS to continue remote learning for now.

"Let's work together for a safe plan with the mayor, with CPS, and stop just making excuses on why they think it's safe; when we've seen nationwide and also around the world that places that have opened before it was really ready, they've closed up again," teacher Vanessa Saucedo said.

However, late Friday night Lightfoot and CPS Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson said they still plan to bring tens of thousands of kindergarten through 8th grade students back into classrooms on Monday, and they expect teachers and staff to be there as well.

Meantime, Jackson will be a guest on Face The Nation at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on CBS 2 to talk about getting students back to school safely.

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