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Multiple Teachers' Unions Around Illinois Consider Strikes If They Are Asked To Return To School And It's Not Safe

WINNETKA, Ill. (CBS) -- As we make our ways closer to the first day of school, some teachers' groups are making their way closer to a possible strike – with concerns over safety creating a line in the sand.

The Chicago Public Schools are expected to announce a plan for remote learning for all of the Chicago Public Schools system to start the 2020-2021 school year amid the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement is expected on Wednesday, a source told CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov.

But before that revelation, an unnamed source also confirmed to Kozlov that the Chicago Teachers Union had been planning to convene its House of Delegates early next week to discuss a rank-and-file-led process to take a strike vote to demand remote learning for CPS.

As CBS 2's Chris Tye reported Tuesday, the bottom line is that teachers do not want to go back to the classroom – and the situation could get heated before school even begins. And the CTU was not alone.

Teachers' unions have formed medical panels of pediatricians to determine whether districts are creating safe environments for the teachers being asked to go into the classroom this fall – even on a limited basis.

If the answer is no, it is not safe, then the word "strike" might become of a regular part of our vocabulary again.

New Trier Township High School in Winnetka is trying to "ramp up from no students in school to a small set of students in school"

That ramp-up was already under way inside and outside New Trier in the weeks before school was set to start.

School leaders wrote their reopening plans "allow us to provide in-person instruction to students for a portion of each week," and that "throughout the year, operational plans may change."

A school year complete with color-coded schedules and pivot plans depending on COVID-19 spikes and dips has teachers concerned about going into the classroom at all. And some teachers' groups around Illinois are considering a strike to protect members.

The Illinois Education Association said: "No avenue or action is off the table - the courts, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, nothing, including health and safety strikes. The entire weight of the IEA and the IFT will be used in whatever way is necessary to protect the students and the staff who educate them."

"What we will strike over is the health and safety conditions of our students and our schools and the educational professionals that work with them," said Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin.

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