CPS parents express frustration, concerns amid battle between CTU, district over students returning to classrooms during COVID

CHICAGO (WLS) -- CPS parents expressed frustration and uncertainty as the Chicago Public School district and the Chicago Teachers Union battle over whether students and teacher should be back in the classrooms.

Learning at home is a struggle for students like Joe Myers, 18. He is a CPS student with autism, and his mother said returning to school two and a half weeks ago was the best thing for him.

"That's where his friends are, that's where he gets his social support, his emotional support, his interaction, it's everything for him," said Kate Myers, CPS parent.

Kate said she would never send Joe back if it was not safe for him or his teachers, but CPS is keeping all cluster and pre-K kids home as the district and CTU continue to bargain over a safe return.

"We don't know who is running the Chicago Public School system. Is it the mayor or is it the teachers union?" said Willie Preston, CPS parent.

RELATED: CPS students to work remotely Wednesday as CTU moves closer to possible strike

Preston, a parent of six CPS students, expressed disagreement when CPS told parents to keep their children at home Wednesday. He also believes schools are safe and is tired of families being caught in the middle in what he views as a political fight.

"I think it's awful that our kids are constantly getting ping-ponged around. The number one thing kids need in their life is stability," Preston said.

CPS still plans to on having thousands of kindergarten through 8th grade students return to school buildings Monday despite no agreement being made with the union.

According to CPS, only 37% of parents surveyed plan to send their children back to schools. Many voiced their concerns on a Zoom call while supporting teachers in their fight.

"I say we stay home. I don't trust CPS," one CPS parent said.

"We made it this far and now we have a vaccine that's rolling out. A couple more months of remote learning is not going to harm anyone," another CPS parent said.

Myers and Preston believe their children have been harmed with the classroom time lost.
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