Chicago Public Schools (CPS) did not return to in-person classes for the third straight day after failing to reach an agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), the Daily Mail reported.
The union has been on strike since Tuesday after the city refused to adhere to its demands for mandatory COVID-19 tests for all staff and students.
The district remained closed on Thursday, and lessons may not resume remotely for its 350,000 students until Monday, according to the Mail.
Jesse Sharkey, president of the CTU, defended the decision to strike during a remote press conference on Wednesday.
"Right now, going into schools puts us at risk, puts our students and families at risk," Sharkey stated. "We're in the middle of a dangerous surge. We don't think bars should be open."
Mayor Lori Lightfoot referred to the strike as an "illegal" course of action during a separate press conference the same day and emphasized how the strike affected the city's image.
"There are so many things we could partner on," Lightfoot said regarding the CTU. "Instead, they chose an illegal, unilateral action that throws the whole system into chaos and makes us a laughingstock all across the country."
Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez, a critic of Lightfoot, told Politico that the CTU is unlikely to give in unless all their demands are met.
"They are on a mission to be obstructionists to this administration in a way that puts me to shame," Lopez said. "I can recognize when she does something right, and they refuse to do even that."
According to the Mail, close to 91% of Chicago teachers are fully vaccinated.
As of Wednesday night, 9,000 students and 2,300 staff members in CPS were either isolated or quarantined because they came into close contact with somebody with COVID.
Chicago is putting up record infection numbers with nearly 5,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, although the death rate remains consistent.
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