Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) went into full panic mode today as thousands of parents from all over her city scrambled to find ways to get their kids to the first day of school in the wake of mass bus driver resignations over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The Chicago Sun Times reported that an estimated 2,100 students, 990 of whom have special needs, were given just two days’ notice that they no longer had a bus route and would need to find their own way to get to school. Private companies notified district officials on Friday that 73 bus drivers had quit because they refused to abide by the Chicago Public Schools’ vaccine mandate.
This requirement, which came in two weeks ago, required all city employees and contractors to get vaccinated against coronavirus by October 15.
“CPS believed there were bus drivers in place,” Lightfoot said in a Monday press conference. “It was only Friday that the notification came from those third parties that they had a shortage of drivers. That is not CPS’ responsibility. We have a contract with those companies. We had an expectation that they were going to fulfill their contract.”
Lightfoot then desperately tried to appear confident that she could find a way around this issue.
“We’re going to work through these kinks,” the radically liberal mayor said. “I’m sure you’re going to find individuals for whom this wasn’t a great start. But we’re going to work hard to make sure that we solve those and address those problems. This is not on CPS. And I want that to be very clear.”
Lightfoot added that as soon as she heard about the mass resignations among bus drivers, she directed her aides to reach out to ride share companies Uber and Lyft to “see what they can do to provide resources to help our families who need alternative means of transportation to get the kids to school and get them there safely.”
While she claimed that her administration had “started conversations” with these companies, she also admitted that no plan had been worked out so far.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” she stated.
One reporter called out the fact that Uber and Lyft each have rules against children under the age of 18 riding in their vehicles without an adult. When asked if she planned to have teacher’s aides or school officials ride with the kids in these vehicles, Lightfoot confessed, “You’re a little ahead of us, but as soon as we know what the plan is going to be, we’ll definitely let you know.”
Despite the fact that Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate plan clearly caused this mess, she continued to stand by it on Monday.
“Let’s just step back for a second,” she said. “We have talked at length about the fact how critically important it is to make sure that our students are safe and safe in school. As a parent, I wouldn’t want somebody who is unvaccinated in a bus with particularly young kids and particularly kids who are most vulnerable not being vaccinated.”
ABC7 reported that this comes one week after Lightfoot defended forcing all city employees to get vaccinated.
“They have to be vaccinated, there’s no room there. You can’t, we have to lead by example,” she said at the time. “We have to make sure that our folks are vaccinated.”
How’s that working out for your city now, Mayor Lightfoot?
This piece was written by James Samson on September 1, 2021. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.
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