CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools will remain closed through April 20 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit the city and state, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday.
Lightfoot made the announcement during a televised address Thursday evening, saying schools will stay closed due to the “continued upward trajectory of the virus spread.” Students will return to class April 21.
“We need to give parents and guardians plenty of advance notice about this reality and the ability to plan,” Lightfoot said. “CPS and the city will continue to support you in the ways that they have through these early days of the school closures.”
“A thousand thanks of gratitude to everyone inside and outside of CPS who have been stepping up for our kids and our families.”
Lightfoot thanked those who contributed to the fund to keep kids fed during school closures. Billionaire Ken Griffin donated $2.5 million to help feed kids Thursday by contributing $1 million to CPS and $1.5 million to the Greater Chicagoland Food Depository.
“Ken and others are exhibiting extraordinary civic leadership at its finest,” Lightfoot said.
Over 90,000 packages with three days worth of food for each child have been provided since March 17, CPS said in a statement.
CPS officials also announced the cancelation of three standardized tests — NWEA, STAR and REACH Performance Tasks — due to the shutdown.
The district is also seeking a waiver from the Illinois State Board of Education on school ratings, asking “that we maintain the current [School Quality Rating Policy] ratings and carry them forward into the next school year.”
The district said it is “fully committed to ensuring students can access assessments tied to college entry, selective enrollment admission and grade promotion,” and that it would continue to keep families updated.
“The continued closure of our city’s great schools poses an unprecedented challenge for our families, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to support them,” CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson said in a statement. “Canceling school is always a last resort, but this decision is necessary to promote the wellbeing of our community, and we will do everything in our power to lift up our families in the days ahead.”
The announcement came after confirmed coronavirus cases spiked to 422 in Illinois. In Chicago, there are 151 cases. Four people with the virus, including two in Cook County, have died as of Thursday.
Here’s where you can get help:
CPS will give out free meals every day for any child in need during the closures — whether the child goes to a public school or not.
The meals will be available 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday at pickup spots outside every school. You do not need to go to your child’s school; you can go to any CPS school to pick up the food.
The kits will include up to three days’ worth of breakfast and lunch for every child in a household.
There will be no daily lessons by teachers, but students can use packets created by their teachers for online and offline educational activities. Parents can access the enrichment learning resources here.
On Thursday, the district announced “additional resources and guidance for families and educators” will be issued in the days ahead.
Where Your Child Can Go
The Park District will have 18 locations open with free, age-appropriate programs for kids while schools are closed. Parents can register their kids onsite or online, which is preferred. Children are encouraged to bring their own lunch and snacks.
Only 250 children will be able to participate at each location to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the Park District.
Click here for more information.
Here are the parks:
- Avalon Park, 1215 E. 83rd St.
- Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave.
- Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave.
- Fosco Park, 1312 S. Racine Ave.
- Gage Park, 2411 W. 55th St.
- Gill Park, 825 W. Sheridan Road
- Jackson Park, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.
- Kennicott Park, 4434 S. Lark Park Ave.
- Kosciuszko Park, 2732 N. Avers Ave.
- Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Drive
- McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Road
- Norwood Park, 5801 N. Natoma Ave.
- Piotrowski Park, 4247 W. 31st St.
- Ridge Park, 1817 W. 96th St.
- Sauganash Park, 5861 N. Kostner Ave.
- Warren Park, 6601 N. Western Ave.
- West Lawn Park, 4233 W. 65th St.
- West Pullman Park, 401 W. 123rd St.
Chicago Public Library branches also remain open during the closure, but it has canceled programming.
Remember, here’s what not to do:
- Do not send your child to school, Jackson emphasized. They will be closed.
- Officials advised against sending your child to a relative who is elderly or has a compromised immune system, since they are those most at risk from coronavirus.
“Grandma’s house is probably not the best place to send your children to,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
- Officials are also advising everyone stay away from large groups and practice social distancing.
Those with questions or concerns can contact CPS by calling 773-553-5437 or by emailing email@example.com.
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