Open On Monday!?

Open On Monday!?

The notifications started going out to teaches and parents Friday and Saturday, and Sunday CPS sent the following announcement about its plans to open schools on Monday despite the severe cold (which is what persuaded New York City to close schools on Friday).  Take a look.  What do you think?  



CHICAGO – Given the forecast for historically cold temperatures on Monday, January 6th, the first day of classes following the winter break, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is preparing a comprehensive winter weather plan to ensure students and school personnel have a warm, comfortable and safe learning environment.


“While all District schools are slated to be open on Monday, I strongly encourage parents to use their own discretion in deciding whether to send their child to school,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “We will be working throughout the weekend to ensure that our buildings and school officials are ready to receive students on Monday.”


The winter weather plans are being communicated to CPS parents and guardians through robo calls, running over the course of the weekend, along with updates on the CPS website and additional information on a winter weather hotline at (773) 553-3100.


Highlights of the plan include:


-       Building engineers will turn boilers up to standard classroom temperatures starting on Sunday. In case of a malfunction, the District, in coordination with the principal and network chief, will make plans to transport students to an alternate site.

-       Students will remain in the building until picked up if they are being picked up.

-       Recess would be indoors.

-       The District is working with bus vendors to ensure that all vehicles are operating properly Monday morning, arrive as scheduled, and that wait times are minimized.

-       Safe Passage workers will be on their usual routes to ensure that students arrive to school safely.

-       Parents are encouraged to ensure students are properly dressed for the conditions and to drop off children at school at the regularly scheduled time.

-       All athletic events will continue as regularly scheduled.


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  • Triple B might have waited until Sunday to make the call because she may have to change it. We will see.

  • In reply to sammy:

    I can claim being the first to say triple B should have waited.
    This would've been a decision that would never be forgotten. We remember Mike Blandic and the 79 snowstorm right. It could have cost her and the Mayor. She has a couple of other glaring mis-calls in certain departments that need to be adjusted before they bite her. She's smart and probably knows the weak spots that are risks for her. Kudos for changing this huge decision.

  • Is she doing this from Ohio?
    Monday's lack of attendance better not count against school scores since she 'gave parents permission' to keep their kids home. Parents should, as it is deathly cold out there for little ones. Does she not realize that our low or no income parents cannot afford winter coats for their children? How about on Monday morning, BBB drives herself to a school on the west side, tries to park her car (not a citizens of Chicago car), and go help the school open in this chill.

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    In reply to district299reader:

    I think one reason is that some kids are not going to have a warm place and will miss two meals if the schools aren't open. They have announced that absences will be excused.

  • In reply to Kirsten Pauli:

    I am not understanding this. I mean if some kids are not going to have a warm place to stay, where will they go after school then?? There are food missions for people who do not have food to eat. It is to dangerous to have the schools open in my opinion. I mean some kids will want to go and may end up getting hurt in doing so. It is not safe. Kids are going to have to dress up in layers( artic gear) in order to stay warm enough if walking any distance.

  • In reply to fedup:

    I think you understand it, but you just disagree with it. But you clearly aren't looking at this from a child safety and well-being standpoint. I do understand that there is a safety/well-being issue with adult staff, too. But that is on the same level as every other adult who will have to work outside or outside the home tomorrow. Think about it-where's your closest "food mission"? What are its hours? How is it safe to walk there in this weather and not safe to walk to school? And the risk we should be concerned about is that a kid will want to go to school and the parent won't be able to stop him/her? If only that were the worst thing that could happen. I agree that parents should keep kids home. But keeping CPS schools open was a safety net.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    No, not drive! She should have to walk the route that the children have to walk! My school is a welcoming school, and some of those kids, who came from a closing school, live about 6 blocks away. They don't have the luxury of being able to ride to school in a warm car, so why should she?

  • bbb, your have many empty school buildings-your know where they are. Why do you not locate the central office departments to the empty schools? Why not get a feel for what is it like the the hood?

  • How about bbb show-up on a Saturday to a Stupes Academy workshops-All day now, no leaving early for Ohio, meeting, or lunch.

  • This is no joke.Old silver backs like me remember real Chicago
    winters like 1967.The last five winters were a pleasant surprise.
    This one is real.A kid could die in 15 minutes of 30 below weather.
    I'll put my car in the barn till Monday morning and see if I can score a sub job.

  • There will be plenty need for subs come Monday. Keep that car warm.

  • Why would a sub work on Monday and risk car problems for sub pay?

    So the children with disabilities who are bussed will come to school on buses that break down when the weather is good. This could be a huge issue-many parents have to work and parents with children with disabilities may just need the child in school after two weeks of being home.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    My car will start,it will run,but for those who do not know how it works
    a sub selects a job from a website called Aesop.I worked the last day before vacation because i took the job a full two weeks before then.
    There were NO jobs listed the night before the last day and none listed that morning.Did your school need subs for that day?

  • In reply to rbusch:

    We have a list of subs who prefer to work at our school. However, there are too many times when aesop is used correctly, no subs ever come.
    Is there a way to get in touch so I can tell our clerk you are available?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Excellent question Right now there is a 3 day job listed.I
    will not go to that school because it has bedbugs.
    I also can decide which schools I want to work. I selected
    South Side High Schools.
    I think Aesop was meant to help out unpleasant schools
    nobody wants to work in by eliminating just such a list
    you mentioned.To be honest i do not know if a clerk can
    select anyone.I will tell you some schools never seem to list openings
    so I am sure there is a way.

  • I think the governor needs to step in and close the schools. I mean I thought the kids were the first priority, but it sure does not look like it. This weather is dangerously cold. Two days is Not going to make a difference in terms of the kids not being in school. They can always make it up at the end of the year. As far as parents that have to work, well make other arrangements for your kids. I mean they were off all Christmas break and someone must have been looking after them. I know many suburban schools are closing Monday and Tuesday. They are putting the kids safety first which is how it should be in my opinion. I hate to think of those children who will be trying to make it to school on the safe passage routes, some having to walk 6 to 8 blocks in that cold. Parents please be smart and keep your kids at home.

  • A lot of kids rely on those two meals they would forgo if schools are closed. Missing work means no pay for many parents. Closing schools has a huge impact. My guess is that schools will be open but CPS will advise parents to keep kids home if it's more suitable for them.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Can't cook no meals if the staff is not there to accept the delivery, defrost it and prepare it

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Like I stated before, schools are closed ALL summer and they were closed for the holiday, I am guessing these kids did eat during that time. It is up to the parents to feed their children, not the schools. This is about child safety we are talking about. You don't have kids walking in way below zero temperatures if they do not have to. Parents just need to make other arrangements for someone to watch their kids. I mean they did during the holiday when schools were closed. Is it an inconvenience, Yes, but that is life. Leaving the schools open is kind of ridiculous. I mean how many teachers or other school staff are going to venture out in this stuff, I mean especially the ones that have kids at home as well?? I highly doubt they will want their kids tracking back and fourth to school in this frigid cold.

  • In reply to fedup:

    During school holidays sites are set up to provide these meals - it is required by the Federal program that funds school meals. Like it or not CPS, is the largest social service agency in the city. That function becomes part of equation when considering closing schools. Obviously, almost all Chicagoans will be at work tomorrow. I'm sure our resourceful teachers will figure out how to get to their schools.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    CPS Parent has it right. Parents can elect to keep their kids home and it will be an excused absence. Kids of parents who have to work or who rely on CPS for services like meals may well be safest in school. It's disappointing that the CTU demand doesn't put kids as the priority. I don't really want to walk to my bus and wait for it tomorrow either, but the alternative is to take a vacation day--I imagine CPS staff and teachers have the same option.

  • I would say that the CTU were the only ones actually looking out for the kids! I mean most schools decided to close their schools on Monday and Tuesday. I think Chicago Public schools were the only ones who were staying open. Thankfully they decided to close them, I am sure they got a lot of flack. Lots of people are taking a vacation day tomorrow. It is better to be safe than sorry.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Sorry, schools are meant to teach kids. Parents are the ones who are responsible for feeding their children. I know many many people who will Not be venturing out in the weather tomorrow. Many will work from home if they can. But more importantly, children are very vulnerable and can be seriously hurt trying to venture out in such extreme cold weather. Yes, it is up to the parents, but not all parents are that responsible. I saw kids walking to school wearing just a hoodie in pretty cold weather. I can only imagine how it would be if a child decided to venture out tomorrow in the extreme cold wearing just a hoodie. It is in the best interest of the kids to close the schools, period. I just saw on the news that they indeed did decide to close. I am sure they got a lot of flack and were made to look so bad on the news and this prompted them to close the schools. I mean after all, most other suburb schools are closing. They should close them Tuesday as well and resume classes on Wednesday when the weather will be a lot better.

  • Better to be inconvenienced than take a trip to the ER for
    frostbite. If it really get to a 30 below windchill a lot of parents
    will also be home.

  • The coldest airmass in nearly 20 years will arrive Sunday night and peak on Monday before slowly moderating through Wednesday. "Temperatures may not rise to above zero from Sunday night through sometime on Tuesday, if they do so at all. This air mass will be accompanied by winds between 15 and 30 mph, resulting in dangerously low wind chill values between 30 and 50 degrees below zero. Temperatures and wind chills this cold can easily result in exposed skin freezing within minutes and rapid onset of hypothermia."
    From: The National Weather Bureau Chicago forecast.

  • re subs: the principal tells the clerks which of her friends to call.

  • What about the "safe passage" workers and crossing guards who will be expected to be outside in dangerous subzero temperatures for extended periods? How many of them will not show up -- with every justification. These conditions are dangerous. End of story. For Tri-B to leave it up to the discretion of the parents sounds like a loop hole to me. Easy exit strategy if things go terribly wrong, "Well, we left it up to the parents and merely provided a warm learning environment." CPS should extend the winter break another day or two for the safety of all involved.

  • Frigid Forecast Already Canceled School on Monday in Wisconsin - The Wire

  • CPS has snow/bad weather days in june. Isn't it more expensive, not to mention dangerous, to open schools these days? Kids safety should be the priority!

  • Many parents/teachers at my school will drop off their children at the grandparents/other relative's homes but need to know before Sunday night if CPS is closed.

  • Well at least the students and staff of the University of Chicago Lab School will be at home tomorrow as they are closed due to the temperatures. So Rahm's kids and their teachers don't have to deal with this weather, but CPS students and staff do.

  • interesting variations on the theme being expressed here over on the CPS FB page --

  • ctu "demands" school closing on monday - empty gesture, smart messaging, or a little bit of both?

    January 5, 2014

    Contact: Michael J. Harrington

    CTU Demands CPS Close Schools Monday Due to Weather Emergency

    The Chicago Teachers Union today demanded that Chicago Public Schools demonstrate concern for the health and safety of children and staff by closing its 600+ school buildings on Monday, January 6, 2014.

    “Right now, CPS and the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management are sending confusing and mixed messages to the public about what to do," said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. "We believe common sense would dictate that CPS should close schools with at least 10 inches of snow already on the ground and a record-breaking low temperature of -10 degrees forecast for Monday.”

    The wind chill factor is expected to hit a low of -45 degrees on Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Thousands of schools and both public and private businesses around the city and state will close their doors tomorrow. The CTU believes that the district should do the same.

    "We expect nothing less when it comes to paying attention to the well-being of the children and teachers we serve,” Lewis said. “In light of the forecast, sending children to school in such dangerous weather conditions shouldn't even be an option for parents."

  • Both ways
    The pathetic louts that run CPS want it both ways.
    Schools are open but you will not be marked absent
    if you stay home.
    This gives the Board an out when some little kid gets frostbite,or
    worst in the 45 below tomorrow morning because the parent made the decision to send the kid to an open school.
    What a cynical group of people.

  • Local news just called it at the end of the broadcast - CPS schools closed tomorrow!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    cps announcement language: CPS SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED ON MONDAY
    Due to Extreme Cold and High Winds, School Buildings Will Be Closed

    CHICAGO—Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will be closed on Monday, January 6th, due to the extreme cold temperatures and high winds that have been forecasted. District officials have been monitoring the expected weather and it will be dangerously cold for children to be going to and from school in the forecasted subzero temperatures and high winds.

    “The safety and well-being of our students is paramount,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Given, the dangerously cold temperatures and high-winds, it is in the best interest of our students for schools to be closed on Monday.”

    After the CPS management team carefully evaluated the situation again today with city departments, it determined that cancelling classes was in the best interest of students. Being outside in arctic temperatures with an extremely low wind chill factor can be dangerous even for a short time. In addition, the expected high winds combined with an additional 10 inches or more of snow that has fallen in the last 24 hours has caused a further deterioration of conditions.

    The District has begun to notify parents of the closure through its regular communication channels via robo-calls, emails, and through media outlets. Parents can also call (773) 553-3100 or visit the CPS website for more information. All after-school and sporting activities have also been cancelled.

    Building engineers and CPS exempt staff will be reporting to work tomorrow.

    For families seeking alternative youth programs and services, all Chicago Park District facilities will be open during their normal operating hours. These times vary, please check hours for specific parks on the Park District website or by calling the specific park.

    Classes will likely resume on Tuesday as normal, but CPS will continue to monitor the situation and will make that determination on Monday.

  • CPS closed tomorrow.Now keep yourselves and your kids

  • I was the first to say she should've waited. Good decision to change it. We remember Mike Blandic and the 79 snow-storm that cost him the Mayorship. This would have been costly to BBB and the Mayor. She's smart and likely knows she has a couple of glaring weaknesses in departments close to her that she needs to fix/support. If they're not fixed or supported properly they will bite her severely. As usual specific political plants obviously shouldn't be in the positions they hold.

  • To hell with BBB and short shanks this was never about Chicago
    politics This was about what reasonable adults should do in light of a
    dangerous situation for all city residents,particularity school kids.
    Thank god Karen Lewis called their bluff and came out as a real leader.

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    Now that CPS has announced that school will be closed on Monday, for those parents that need to work - or who are anxious for their kids to have a fun and educational day - Multilingual Connections will be hosting a Spanish immersion "Cold Camp" for kids pre-K through 5th grade. All Spanish levels welcome (novice to native). Details here:

  • In reply to Jill Bishop:

    Cold Camp- 60.00 a day is a very reasonable price.

  • has your school been plowed yet?

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