CHICAGO — When it comes to handicapping whether to sending kids back to school in November, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, "We're not there, yet."
That was Lightfoot's response to questions about the future of in-person learning at Chicago Public Schools after announcing Monday the city would ease coronavirus restrictions on indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other businesses
City public health officials said the eased restrictions come after more than 28 days of slow decreases in COVID-19 cases and the coronavirus test positivity rate. As of Monday, Chicago public officials say the city is averaging about 300 new coronavirus cases per day, an improvement compared to late August, when the daily average of new cases was 350 and rising. The city's test positivity rate has decreased to about 4.5 percent, officials said.
That's not good enough to start talking about sending kids back into classrooms, Lightfoot said
"We have to see more progress in order for us, I think, to have a conversation about in-person learning. We're not there yet. I don’t want to speculate about the chances. It’s something we are focused on every single day, and we’ll make an announcement relatively soon because we’ve got to give parents and the school community enough time to adapt if we’re going to make a change. But we’re not there yet," the mayor said.
Lightfoot said public health metrics that her administration deemed stable enough to lessen coronavirus restrictions on some businesses haven't reached a level that warrants re-opening the state's largest school district, which started the school year with all remote learning.
The mayor said CPS officials will consider how returning to in-person learning will affect principals, teacher and staff, particularly those over 60 years old with underlying medical conditions.
"I’m hopeful that we will get there sooner rather than later because I know that all-remote learning is a real challenge for everybody involved, not the least of which the students and the parents," Lightfoot said.