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Remote Learning Concerns Growing For Chicago Public Schools

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Just two weeks before Chicago Public Schools begin remote learning both union and CPS insiders say there are still many unresolved issues about how virtual learning will actually work.

The Chicago Teachers Union wants hazard pay for those who have to go back into the buildings. A CPS source confirmed to CBS 2's Dana Kozlov it is on the table even though students won't be in school until at least November.

Even though CPS laid out its remote learning plan earlier this month, the CTU's vice president said the union has not exactly been part of that conversation.

"Right now there's zero agreement on how we do remote learning," said CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates.

She said that is the case despite weeks of trying to work out those details with Chicago Public Schools leaders. One point of contention is who, if anyone, will work inside the schools.

"For instance, CPS is pushing our clerks back into buildings without actually talking through how we do the work in a safe manner," Davis Gates said.

They also haven't talked through how those workers will be compensated, she said. A CPS source said in one proposal the union wants staff who by agreement are assigned to those empty building to have proper ventilation and personal protective equipment and hazardous duty pay. An exact amount isn't specified.

Davis Gates sidestepped the issue.

CPS responded to the hazard pay with a flat out "No."

The CTU also wants an extra hour of prep time per school day for a total of two hours a day or ten hours a week. Critics argue that's a full day of lost instruction time. Davis Gates sees it differently.

"Prep time is often spent with our students helping them make up, helping them understand," she said.

The down-to-the-wire detail haggling is frustrating for both sides. Meanwhile, scores of parents and students are still waiting for clarification and assurances this round of remote learning will be better than the last.

"I feel very confident that the members of the Chicago Teachers Union will figure it out," Davis Gates said.

A CPS spokesperson said CPS stopped hazard pay in the spring when the city entered phase three of its reopening plan. The spokesperson said officials continue to talk with the CTU regularly to ensure the best educational experience for all involved. There is a school board meeting scheduled for Wednesday where many of the issues are expected to be raised.

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