By Mike DeNardo

SPRINGFIELD (DELAWARE COUNTY), Pa. – For the first time in the weeklong teachers strike by teachers at area Catholic high schools (see previous stories), the schools have been closed.

One school — Archbishop Wood in Warminster, Pa. — remained open for one day to make up for a previous school day lost to weather, but the other 16 in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are now closed.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue toward ending the strike by lay teachers.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese described the latest talks as “productive,” with the two sides exchanging proposals at an undisclosed location.

Meanwhile, there were no classes for 16,000 students for the first time during the strike, but teachers remained on the picket line.

Robert Wills, a social studies teacher at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, says he doesn’t want to give up the job protections his union has bargained for over the years.

“I’m a government (subject) teacher, and I always say that a little social justice means that you’ve got to get off the couch occasionally and you’ve got to walk around. You’ve got to take a stand.”

Wills says having schools closed adds more urgency to the negotiations.

The archdiocese says it still plans on holding a full instructional year — by canceling holidays if it has to.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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