COFI Grandparent Talks to Chalkbeat About CPS Return to School

“Regina Simms has taken a cautious approach to safety amid the pandemic.

Still, when her son’s family made the decision to send her youngest grandson back to the classroom at Dixon Elementary on Chicago’s South Side, she backed that wholeheartedly.

It was not an easy call for the boy’s parents: Her daughter-in-law, who works in the district, opposed sending the preschooler back, questioning if safety protocols would be followed faithfully. Simms’ son felt strongly the boy should go back.

Simms says her grandson this week quickly learned how to keep his mask on properly throughout the day and stay a safe distance from classmates. He reported he liked in-person school.

Simms, who is active with the nonprofit Community Organizing and Family Issues, which advocates for parents of color, says she understands the safety concerns surrounding reopening schools but feels all residents face a measure of risk.

‘If you are concerned about catching the COVID-19, but you are not concerned about kids’ education, I disagree,’ she said. ‘All these thousands of students in Chicago are failing like crazy. I’d rather for my grandchild to take a chance in school.’”

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