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Watch: Chicago Teachers Union members perform interpretive dance in protest of teacher return policy
Image source: @CTULocal1 Twitter video screenshot

Watch: Chicago Teachers Union members perform interpretive dance in protest of teacher return policy

Yes, really.

A handful of members of the Chicago Teachers Union have expressed their opposition to the Chicago Public Schools' plan for schools to return to in-classroom teaching by performing an ensemble of interpretive dances.

The union has proudly shared the video for the world to see.

What are the details?

The CTU tweeted out the clip with the message, "Six of our rank-and-file dance teachers come together to use their art form as a voice to express their desire to feel safe amidst CPS' teacher return policy. They stand in solidarity with all educators at risk, because no one should have to choose between life and livelihood."

The teachers union has been embroiled in a battle with the school district over whether it is safe to return to classrooms, and voted Monday to defy the city's reopening plan. The union has insisted that teachers want to return to in-person teaching, but claim the school system is not adequately prepared to do so despite spending $100 million toward the effort.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the ongoing disagreement has caused the reopening plan to be delayed this week, and the school system told parents to keep their kids home on Wednesday — when they had been slated to return to the classroom.

Meanwhile, CTU is telling teachers to be prepared to strike. In an email obtained by The Sun-Times, the union wrote Tuesday afternoon:

"So it's come to this. Short of some late-breaking change, *all* CTU members will begin working remotely tomorrow, Wednesday, January 27. And if CPS retaliates against members for exercising their right to a safe workplace, *all* CTU members will stop working on Thursday and set up picket lines at their schools."

Beyond CTU saying that teachers afraid of returning to classes before being vaccinated for COVID-19, the CTU argues that the plan does not make sense because the vast majority of preschool and special education students who were allowed to return to the classroom two weeks ago are still being kept home by their parents.

According to the Sun-Times:

K-8 schools are scheduled to reopen Feb. 1 for an estimated 71,000 students — out of 191,000 children in those grades — who have said they plan to return. It's not clear if all those students will return — only half of the pre-K and special education students who opted in to in-person learning have returned this month, accounting for 19% of the total eligible.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement Tuesday, "We are willing to keep negotiating, but CPS has refused to back down from insisting that 80% of educators and support staff person in every elementary school be back in class on February 1 to serve less than 20% of students."

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