Chicago Teachers Are On Strike: Here's What You Need To Know WBEZ answers your questions — from who is impacted by the walkout to locations where parents can drop off their children during the strike.
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NPR logo Chicago Teachers Are On Strike: Here's What You Need To Know

Chicago Teachers Are On Strike: Here's What You Need To Know

Striking teachers walk a picket line at Peirce Elementary in Andersonville on Chicago's North Side early Thursday. Manuel Martinez/WBEZ hide caption

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Manuel Martinez/WBEZ

About 32,000 Chicago Public Schools teachers and support staff are on strike.

The school district has compiled a list of frequently asked questions that's worth checking out.

And, for quick reading, here are answers to some of the big questions:

Who is impacted by the walkout?

  • 299,000 children and their families (62,000 children in CPS charter and contract schools aren't affected)
  • 25,000 Chicago teachers and other Chicago Teachers Union members
  • 7,500 SEIU staff working in Chicago Public Schools, including teacher assistants, custodians, bus aides and security officers

I'm a CPS parent. Where can I take my children?

Chicago Public Schools says it will keep all school buildings open and serve breakfast, lunch and supper to take home. Students will be supervised by administrators and non-union staff.

Parents can sign up for CPS childcare and find a location here. The school district is encouraging parents to register.

CPS also says all Chicago public libraries and Chicago Park District facilities will be open. Park District workers reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday and will not be striking, as had been expected. The Park District said it will offer drop-in activities until 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and can accommodate at least 40 children at each location.

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CTA public transit will be free for students until the strike ends, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other city officials announced Wednesday night.

"I really think we should probably call this 'it takes a village' press conference," Lightfoot said. "Chicagoans are opening their hearts, their homes, their facilities to make sure that CPS students have a welcome, safe place to go during this work stoppage and I am grateful for all of our partners that are here, for all the sister agencies and city departments that are here."

What else is available for kids? The parent group Raise Your Hand has compiled a good list. Here's a rundown from the Chicago Tribune. Here's another one from WGN.

How will this affect extracurriculars and after school activities?

All activities at schools are canceled.

Schools were scrambling this week to reschedule events.

On Tuesday, Chicago Public Schools Chief Education Officer LaTanya D. McDade released a statement saying the PSAT and SAT are pushed back two weeks "to ensure students have optimum conditions." The tests were originally scheduled for Wednesday.

Also, CPS has been trying to reschedule some football games. This is because to qualify for playoffs, teams must play at least eight games, and those that win six or more automatically qualify. In addition, if the strike lasts long enough, teams may be forced to forfeit their first playoff games.

The strike may also affect other sports teams as well, with citywide competitions for soccer, tennis, swimming and marching band scheduled this week.

Homecoming dances for some CPS schools, such as the Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, have been rescheduled.

Where can I find updates on negotiations?

WBEZ's Chicago Teachers Strike 2019 blog has all the latest news and is updated regularly.

Will schools make up for days missed during the strike?

Chicago Public Schools says no, it will not make up days missed because of the walkout.

In past teacher strikes in Chicago, students have had to make up days, either during winter or spring break or at the end of the school year.

There is a chance this decision could be reversed because missed days cut into teacher pay and student instructional time.

The teachers union, for example, could decide to remain on strike until the school district agrees the days will be made up.

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