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At Least One School Closing During NATO Summit, Others Weighing Options

Old St. Mary's Grade School in Chicago. (CBS)

Old St. Mary’s Grade School in Chicago. (CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s two weeks away from the NATO summit, and at least one Chicago private school has already made the decision not to open Monday May 21.

Another is considering putting up a fence.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports on what other schools may be doing.

Old St. Mary’s Grade School on South Michigan Avenue is just blocks from where NATO leaders will be staying and less than a mile from McCormick Place, where they’ll be meeting.

Principal Mary Callahan considers the school in the logistical line of fire.

“If police or an ambulance or fire trucks couldn’t get to us  in an emergency, that would be problematic to have an open school,” she says.

So, St. Mary’s will closed May 21. Parents say it’s the right move.

“We’ve heard a lot of mixed things, rumors about what protesters are doing, and we don’t want to be part of it,” Shannon Nettleman says.

Chicago’s Jones High School may have the same logistical problems as old St. Mary’s because it’s just a few blocks north on State Street. Just a few blocks south of NATO’s headquarters are more public schools, such as Dunbar High and Drake Elementary.

You can see McCormick Place in the background from Drake Elmentary. Administrators say CPS officials are talking of building a second gate around the building.

The concern is that protesters wanting to get close to NATO leaders will get too close to the school.

“How will it affect him getting to school in the morning and coming home,” says Tara Anderson, whose son is a senior at Dunbar.

So far, there is no talk of closing any public schools.

While they may not close school, some administrators say they wouldn’t be surprised if students in the affected zone are reassigned on Monday to another school.

As for St. Mary’s, the day they’re off students will have online classes at home.