Chicago teachers piled into hundreds of cars on the first Monday of August and rolled their way to City Hall.
No strangers to large demonstrations, the teachers spent hours protesting Chicago Public Schools’ plan to mix in-school and at-home learning this fall to reduce crowding in buildings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Staff didn’t feel safe teaching in person, the educators said, especially given rising rates of positive COVID-19 cases in Illinois. The demonstration had hallmarks of the massive strike the Chicago Teachers Union waged 10 months prior during a contract dispute with the city.
As union members murmured about potentially striking again for their safety, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Chicago’s near 400,000 students would start the year online-only on Sept. 8. That means almost all of America’s biggest districts will start the school year with online learning — a move largely driven by local teachers unions.