“If you’ve got the means, I would go ahead and order home tests right now,” she advised families — a further burden on parents awaiting news on whether their children would be attending school the following day.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said her union’s Chicago affiliate was not to blame for the labor strife. She asked why the nation’s two larger districts, New York City and Los Angeles, had been able to collaborate with unions to set up testing programs, while Chicago’s testing effort had failed.

Pandemic school closures have contributed to backlash against union-affiliated Democrats in places like Virginia and New Jersey, particularly in majority-white suburbs. But Ms. Weingarten said she was not worried about the political ramifications in Chicago. The city is heavily Democratic, and its public school students are predominantly Black and Latino.

“I’m worried about it for the kids and for the teachers and for families,” she said.

went on strike for 11 days and extracted concessions from Ms. Lightfoot on pay, class sizes and support staff. A year ago, when schools first returned to in-person instruction, the city and union engaged in weeks of tense negotiations.

“Having these very public head-butting sessions is really detrimental for, I think, Chicago Public Schools overall,” Ms. Hadden said. She added, “People expect us to get over ourselves, to get over our really strong need to be absolutely right or to not be seen as giving into demands.”

Giulia Heyward contributed reporting.

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