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CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools may be close to ending their systemwide COVID-19 mask mandate.

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said the district is looking at going mask optional in the near future.

CPS said it will have more definitive plans by early next week and right now is engaged in talks with principals, staff and parents about going mask optional.

CPS is the largest district in the state that still mandates masks. It was part of an agreement the district and the Chicago Teachers Union made early this year, after classes were canceled for several days, as the two sides negotiated a safety plan.

In a statement, CTU said it continues to support the mask mandate, but also asked members to weigh in on the topic.

However, that agreement is part of an ongoing downstate lawsuit. A judge has set a hearing date for a possible temporary restraining order to halt the mandate later this month.

The attorney who filed the lawsuit told the Chicago Tribune he was surprised CPS could be going mask optional soon.

Martinez said the new CDC guidance and Illinois’ plummeting Covid caseload are making it easier to move toward easing restrictions.

The state and city lifted their indoor mask mandate on Monday. Gov. JB Pritzker lifted the school mandate last week, but most school districts in the state had already gone mask optional.