CHICAGO — Students at 20 Chicago Public Schools were without electricity Monday following a severe snowstorm that knocked out power for about 34,000 people in the city.
An icy snowstorm with high winds that began Sunday night left the Chicago area with nearly 13 inches of snow Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The strong winds and ice damaged power lines throughout the Chicago area said John Schoen, a ComEd spokesman.
CPS schools affected by the storm remained open while about 800 ComEd crews continued to try and restore power to people on Monday morning. While the majority of CPS schools had electricity, 20 schools had limited or no power during the day.
Some of the affected schools included Rufus M. Hitch Elementary School, 5625 N. Mcvicker Ave. in Jefferson Park; Grover Cleveland Elementary School, 3121 W. Byron St. in Irving Park; Benito Juarez Community Academy, 1450 W. Cermak Rd. in Pilsen; and North-Grand High School, 4338 W. Wabansia Ave in West Humboldt Park.
CPS did not return a request for additional information on which of its 20 schools were impacted by the storm and had limited or no power during classes Monday.
During the power outage, some schools relied on backup generators for limited electricity while they waited for power to be fully restored. At North-Grand, one leader said its students were “safe and warm thanks to our backup generators” in a now deleted tweet. However the school apparently still had heating problems and other issues due to the outage.
In a statement, CPS said school grounds were plowed and salted throughout the night and early morning and that all transportation and “Safe Passage services” were deployed as normal. CPS officials also said it deployed staff to schools in the morning to help identify and address issues caused by the weather.
“Nearly all schools impacted by power loss have safe temperatures and partial power on their campus and are able to safely remain open today,” the statement said.
The only school that had students relocate due to the lack of power was James Shields Elementary School, 4250 S. Rockwell St. in Brighton Park. Students were moved a few blocks south to nearby James Shields Middle School at 2611 W. 48th St.
Some affected Chicago residents took to Twitter to share how the outage impacted schools in their area.
And Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said students at the 20 affected schools were “robbed today of warmth and educational stability — because the mayor’s appointees who run our schools simply don’t care about their learning conditions.”
Classrooms without power are part of “chronic” neglect by CPS’s appointed school board, he said, calling on the state’s new governor to sign legislation to approve an elected CPS school board.
CPS officials anticipated schools would have electricity in time for classes on Tuesday and that schools would be in contact with parents regarding any potential updates.
“Thanks to strong weekend planning and collaboration with the City of Chicago and ComEd, the vast majority of schools opened today without issue,” Michael Passman, a CPS spokesperson, said in statement. “And nearly all of the approximately 20 schools that experienced some power loss were prepared to safely support students in their school buildings today.”
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