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'The District has failed to address our concerns' | Cleveland Teachers Union votes to stay remote despite CMSD mandate

Last week Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon pushed back the return plan. Now, the union says they want "proven safeguards" before coming back to class.

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Teachers Union voted Thursday night to instruct members to continue remote learning next Monday, March 8, despite a mandate from the district requiring them to return to the classroom on that date.

Last week Cleveland Metropolitan Schools CEO Eric Gordon pushed the district's return to in-person learning back one week, which he said was to, "allow school and district staff to better plan for necessary adjustments." 

RELATED: Cleveland schools delay shift to in-person learning by 1 week: See the updated plan

Now the union is saying they need more safety measures in place before they can feel comfortable sending teachers back. In a statement released Thursday evening, union president Shari Obrenski said that educators are, "eager to come back to the classroom to serve their students in person, but not until we can ensure a safe and orderly return." 

Despite the statement from the CTU, Cleveland school officials say they are still planning for a March 8 return. 

"The District intends to begin our transition to hybrid learning beginning Monday, March 8th as planned. We remain in discussion with the leadership of the Cleveland Teachers Union regarding their concerns," the CMSD told 3News in a statement.

Thursday's back-and-forth statements is the continuance of a long saga in CMSD's quest to return. Back in February, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine criticized both CMSD and Akron Public Schools for not planning to return to in-person learning at the beginning of March, despite the Governor including school staff in Phase 1B of Ohio's coronavirus vaccine rollout.

RELATED: Bill would allow Ohio schools more time to give spring tests

Eventually CMSD gave in and announced a gradual return to hybrid in-person instruction that would have begun March 1, before making the push back.

The union's statement called DeWine's deadline to return "arbitrary" and said it created, "an unreasonable and forced timeline that makes a safe and orderly transition from remote to hybrid impossible."

"We had a plan moving and it got derailed," Obrenski said in the statement. "this rush job is fueled by political expediency, not sound science."

In a statement issued to 3News following the vote, CMSD said it "intends to begin our transition to hybrid learning beginning Monday, March 8 as planned." The district added it is still "in discussion" with the union.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video below originally aired on Feb. 19: