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Today, I’m pleased to share with you that the Chicago Teachers Union has ratified its agreement with Chicago Public Schools on a safe return to in-person learning.

You can read about the agreement here.

These past 11 months have been a whirlwind for all of Chicago. We’ve lost jobs and loved ones, and grappled with instability, depression, isolation and so much more. But we are a strong and resilient city. I know that because I have seen it up close and personal every day in the faces of our families and communities.

That resilience has gotten us this far, to the point where we can see a faint hint of light at the end of the tunnel. It has also helped us reach an agreement with our public school teachers to allow our Pre-K, Cluster, and K-through-8 students to return to safe, in-person learning.

To our students and parents: As the parent of a 12 year old, I know that this very public dispute over these last few weeks has absolutely been the hardest on you. You have told me and the CPS team that you feel like you have been held hostage and your voices have been drowned out. I want you to know that I have heard you, loud and clear. I promise that we will continue to do everything possible to uplift your voices and make sure that you have a seat at the table. I want to express my gratitude to our parents and students for your patience and support as you navigated everything that’s been thrown at you. And you’ve been the force that’s held us all together. I understand that, and I know that every day.

And to the teachers: I thank you for your hard work and commitment throughout these extraordinary 11 months. I know many of you have worked harder this year than you’ve ever worked. That’s why I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for going above and beyond for our kids and our entire city.

Thank you to our CPS leadership team, and especially CEO Dr. Janice Jackson and Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade.

I also want to thank Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey. We had a series of very candid and productive conversations in which we both worked very hard to hear each other for the betterment of all. I have no doubt that those discussions helped propel us to this moment.

We have taken a momentous step forward in our journey of renewal and recovery. One that sees all of us fighting that much harder to ensure we provide our kids the education, resources, and love they need to learn, grow, and pursue their dreams.

Thank you,

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot