Chicago Public Schools will remain open amid coronavirus concerns, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday, even as schools in other parts of the Chicago area decide to close or implement e-learning.
"At this time, CPS will remain open," Lightfoot said, noting the district is taking action to keep students and staff safe as COVID-19 cases in the city climb.
CPS will begin scaling back large-scale school events, Lightfoot said, as well as issuing spring break guidance and instituting a mandatory policy on short-term closures for schools with confirmed cases. A "specific set of guidance" will be distributed to the school community on Thursday, she said, adding the district is giving careful consideration to the impact school closures may have on working families.
"Let me be as clear as possible," Lightfoot said. "Every decision that I have made and every decision that I will make pertaining to COVID-19 is steered by data, public health guidance and medical professionals."
Multiple schools in the area were closed Thursday and several universities in Illinois were taking extra precautions over concerns of possible coronavirus exposure.
CPS CEO Janice Jackson said earlier this week "there are no plans to close any schools at this time" outside of Vaughn Occupational High School, which was closed after an aide tested positive for the virus.
Jackson noted on Tuesday that the district is preparing for "various scenarios" as the coronavirus situation continues to unfold.
In addition to stepped up cleaning and disinfecting measures, staff and officials are preparing ways to ensure students can continue to have "a meaningful academic experience should learning be disrupted."