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Community Updates

Dear CPS Parents and Families,

Even in this unprecedented time, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) remains focused on providing your children with every resource they need to be successful, both for the rest of this school year and in the years to come. However, our CPS family must be fully accounted for to receive the federal funding needed to make this goal a reality. The key is getting as many families as possible counted in the 2020 Census, which is why we are declaring May 25-28 CPS Census Week.

As you can see from this video, the census will have a major impact on our city’s education system for the next decade. It is an issue of equity and civil rights, and we must do everything possible to make sure your children receive their fair share of state and federal funds.

You may hear your children talking about the census in the coming week, as we have urged our teachers to make it a priority in their remote learning lessons. Even at their young age, we want our children to understand why this is so important and how they can help make sure their families, friends, and neighbors are accurately counted.

If you have not yet completed the 2020 Census, we strongly urge you to do so during CPS Census Week - May 25-28. The week will feature many opportunities to support you, including virtual workshops geared toward helping families get their questions answered and make sure they are correctly counted. You can find a complete list of plans and activities in the Census Week Guide.

We understand that the idea of the census may be uncomfortable for some families in this political climate, and along with the City of Chicago, we are committed to the values established as a sanctuary city to protect all communities from this data being used inappropriately. There is NO citizenship question on the 2020 Census, and other information provided is protected by privacy laws.

We thank you for your support and urge you to reach out to your child’s teacher or principal if you have questions or concerns about completing the census. We look forward to educating your children on this important topic during CPS Census Week, and as always, remain committed to providing them with the high-quality learning opportunities they deserve.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Parents and Families,

As part of our commitment to engaging families around the district’s budgeting process, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is pleased to announce five virtual community meetings that will gather feedback from parents as we prepare our FY21 Capital Plan. Your input is key to achieving the district’s commitment to community engagement and equity during the budgeting process. These community meetings will provide you with an understanding of the district’s capital planning process and collect your input to help the district understand what investments would have the most positive impact on your children.

To keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the five meetings will be held virtually during the last week in May. We will use a Zoom format that will allow you to ask questions and provide feedback to district leaders. This is the first time CPS is holding community meetings to discuss capital priorities before the release of a capital budget, and we believe that doing so will result in a more informed, more equitable process. Following the release of our FY21 Capital Plan this summer, CPS will also hold public hearings to discuss the details of proposed capital investments.

Four of the capital budget meetings will correspond to geographic areas of the city, and a fifth citywide meeting will be held entirely in Spanish. Dates and times of all meetings are listed below. If you cannot attend one of the meetings, we will post meeting materials and a video at cps.edu/capitalmeetings.

These upcoming meetings are part of a larger strategy by Mayor Lightfoot and CPS to strengthen the school budgeting process through increased community engagement. Last month, the district released school budgets for the 2020-21 school year. These budgets, which included more than $125 million in additional funding for schools, were created with significant input gathered during an extensive community outreach process held earlier this year.

Your input is invaluable, and we strongly encourage your participation in the upcoming capital budget meetings. Thank you for your partnership during this unprecedented time. We remain committed to providing your children with the high-quality education they deserve.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Information on Virtual Capital Meetings
Please RSVP in advance using the links below:

South (Networks 11, 12 ,13, 17)
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 from 3–4:30 p.m.
Link: https://cpscapitalplanning1.eventbrite.com

Southwest (Networks 7, 8, 9, 10, 16)
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 from 5–6:30 p.m.
Link: https://cpscapitalplanning2.eventbrite.com

Central/West (Networks 3, 5, 6, 7, 15)
Thursday, May 28, 2020 from 3–4:30 p.m.
Link: https://cpscapitalplanning3.eventbrite.com

North/Northwest Meeting (Networks 1, 2, 4, 14)
Thursday, May 28, 2020 from 5–6:30 p.m.
Link: https://cpscapitalplanning4.eventbrite.com

City-wide Spanish-Language Meeting
Friday, May 29, 2020 from 3–4:30 p.m.
Link: https://cpscapitalplanning5.eventbrite.com

Dear Colleagues, Families, and Supporters,

This week, we celebrated both Teacher Appreciation Week and National Nurses Week. In these unprecedented circumstances, these professionals are doing an outstanding job of meeting their students’ needs, from supporting their health and safety to providing the academic foundation they will need for success in college, career, and community. We thank all of our teachers and nurses for their unwavering dedication and hope each felt valued and supported by their Chicago Public Schools (CPS) family this week.

With Mother’s Day on Sunday, we also want to acknowledge the incredible moms who are part of our CPS community. Parents are always our most critical partners, but their role in education has taken on a whole new significance during this time of remote learning. Our teachers are doing everything they can to provide their students and their children a positive experience learning at home. We thank all of the mothers who are helping oversee their children’s education, often while balancing the demands of their own careers. You are all heroes, and we wish you a joyful and relaxing Mother’s Day.

As we approach the end of the school year, we are planning our process for ensuring students and staff can safely bring home their belongings from our schools. Additionally, in alignment with guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), we are planning to hold summer school virtually. Please be on the lookout for additional guidance on these plans in the coming weeks.

We know that our parents, students, partners, and staff are all wondering the same thing right now––what will school look like for CPS in the fall? At this point, there are many options on the table, and due to the evolving nature of the public health emergency, no decisions have been made yet for the fall.

While we hope that schools will open on time and at full capacity, we are establishing a variety of contingency plans to ensure families are supported and student learning can continue in the fall. Earlier this week, ISBE officials acknowledged a range of potential scenarios—including having students attend school on alternate days to continue remote learning—and we are working to ensure we are prepared for whatever course of action our local and state leaders and health officials determine is safe and responsive to the needs of our students, staff, and families.

CPS is planning for a robust 2020–21 school year that will provide your child with the quality education they deserve. With continued support from our educators, families, and partners, we have total confidence that we will finish this school year strong and begin our next one as a district on the rise.

We thank you for your patience and cooperation during this unprecedented time and promise to communicate with you regularly as plans take shape for the fall. Please stay healthy and safe until we can all reunite as one CPS family.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Families,

On April 17, Governor Pritzker announced that in-person instruction would be suspended for all Illinois schools through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. This was difficult news to hear, but we support the Governor’s decision to protect the health and safety of all Illinoisans.

While in-person instruction has ended for the year, remote learning is in full swing, and our teachers are doing their best to provide your children with the same high-quality instruction they had in the classroom. Today, we are writing to update you on how your child will be graded in the fourth quarter, as well as the recommendations we will be making to the Board of Education regarding graduation and promotion to the next grade level. We hope this information will help you keep your child engaged through the final two months of school while providing flexibility during this challenging time.

Grading and Promotion for Elementary Students

We recognize the challenges our students and families are facing due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and we are recommending the Board of Education approve a modification to the promotion policy that will advance all elementary students to the next grade level in the fall. While student work will be graded to allow them to improve or maintain their third quarter grades, no student will receive a fourth quarter grade that falls below their third quarter grade. To ensure students are rewarded for their hard work while also providing flexibility, students will receive either a letter grade, Pass, or Incomplete based on the following criteria:

Quarter 4 (Q4) Transcript Grade Qualification
Letter Grade
  • Achieved a Q4 grade that met or exceeded student’s Q3 grade

Pass (P)
GPA is not impacted.

  • Participated in digital instruction and earned a Q4 grade below Q3 grade
  • No access to digital instruction but completed printed work packets

Incomplete (/)
GPA is not impacted. Student is prioritized for Summer School if it is determined that Summer School can be held this year.

  • No access to digital instruction and did not complete printed work packets or engage with teacher
  • Had access to digital instruction and earned an F in Q4 

GPAs, Promotion, and Graduation for High School Students

High schools will use a modified semester-based grading system that will provide students the opportunity to improve their GPA, which is important for students who are pursuing a postsecondary education. The grading system will also protect the academic standing of students who earn a lower grade in the fourth quarter. The district’s revised grading system will now allow students to improve their semester grade in order to earn a letter grade. At the high school level, students will receive either a letter grade, Pass, or Incomplete based on the following criteria:

Semester 2 (S2) Transcript Grade

Qualification

Letter Grade

  • Achieved a cumulative S2 grade that met or exceeded student’s Q3 grade

Pass (P)
GPA is not impacted. Student earns credit.

  • Participated in digital instruction and earned a cumulative S2 passing grade below Q3 grade
  • No access to digital instruction but completed printed work packets

Incomplete (/)
GPA is not impacted. Student does not earn credit and is offered the opportunity to engage in credit recovery to meet graduation requirements.

  • No access to digital instruction and did not complete printed work packets or engage with teacher
  • Had access to digital instruction and earned a cumulative F in S2

The district will also recommend that the Board waive the following non-credit bearing graduation requirements for this year’s seniors: Service Learning, State-mandated Assessment (SAT/DLM-AA), Constitution Test, Financial Literacy, and Computer Science.

For a full overview of our grading, promotion, and graduation requirements, please view our detailed grading guidance for parents.

Engaging Students and Families and Ensuring a Strong Finish to the Year

Keeping students engaged and instilling a sense of normalcy are critical to their health and wellness and ensures students can continue making academic progress. We’ve developed a protocol to help schools track student engagement through a variety of metrics, including regular teacher check-ins for students who may need additional guidance. However, we ask families to work with their school to create a routine to keep their child engaged. Teachers will continue posting grades at the same frequency as usual. Please utilize the Parent Portal to monitor your child’s progress. Click here for more information on Parent Portal and contact your child’s school with questions.

While this is not the fourth quarter we envisioned for you, the school year is not over. Teachers will continue to teach. Students will continue to learn. The important work of education will not stop.

Finally, to the Class of 2020, we’re deeply sorry that you won’t be able to celebrate your prom and graduation with your friends and family. We remain hopeful that should the governor lift the stay-at-home order and public health officials deem it appropriate to gather in large groups this summer, school communities will find a way to celebrate your achievements.

We appreciate your patience and understanding. We will continue to update you regularly throughout the remainder of the school year.

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Families and Supporters,

After a successful engagement effort with our school communities earlier this year to identify opportunities to strengthen school budgeting, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is pleased to announce that schools will receive more than $125 million in additional funding for the 2020–21 school year.

The school budgets released today were shaped by recommendations from the district’s School Funding Working Group, as well as the invaluable feedback gathered from families, educators, and partners at six community budget forums held earlier this year. The investments outlined in these budgets reflect our commitment to promoting greater equity across the district and prioritizing resources for those schools and students who need them most.

Investing in Equity

Aligned with our Five-Year Vision and commitment toward equity, the district is increasing its investment in Equity Grants to $44 million next school year. These funds, which go above and beyond the standard funding all schools receive, will prioritize 255 schools in our highest need communities and provide them an average grant of $174,000. As a result of community feedback, equity grants will now provide more than 100 schools in the 12 highest areas of need as identified by the UIC’s Economic Hardship Index with an additional $100,000 allocation to support positions dedicated to high-quality instruction next school year.

Strengthening our Pre-K to College Continuum

As Chicago moves closer to our goal of providing every four-year-old in Chicago with access to free, full-day Pre-K, we are investing $18 million to serve more than 900 new students and add 44 full-day Pre-K classrooms next school year. And for the first time in district history, CPS is investing $5 million to provide high school students with specialized programming to help them successfully navigate high school and graduate prepared to thrive in the college or career path of their choice.

Largest-Ever Special Education Funding Increase and More CPS Nurses, Social Workers and Case Managers than Ever Before

The district will invest an additional $97 million in special education — the largest single-year increase on record — to better support diverse learners, and refine how we fund special education to ensure consistent and equitable distribution of resources throughout the city. And to ensure that all students benefit from the specialists they need to access a well rounded education, the district is investing an additional $13 million next school year to employ a record-high number of nurses, social workers and special education case managers. By the 2023-24 school year, all CPS schools will have both a full-time nurse and social worker, and the investments made in the year ahead will ensure we reach that standard for our students.

Funding Increase for the Upcoming School Year

We are also increasing the funding all schools receive for each student by three percent to align with the teacher salary increase in the contract reached between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union in 2019. And just like in the previous two years, funding for the year ahead is based on official enrollment during our current school year and will not fall below that level, even if student enrollment drops next fall.

We will continue monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 crisis to determine its impact on other areas of operational spending, and we will release our full operating budget later this summer.

These school budgets reflect our unwavering dedication to the students of Chicago. We remain committed to providing every child from every community with a world-class education and will continue planning for a successful upcoming school year.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Parents and Families,

Earlier today, Governor Pritzker announced that in-person instruction will be suspended for the rest of the school year in Illinois to further slow the spread of COVID-19. We understand this is difficult news to hear, but we support the governor’s decision to protect the health and wellness of all Illinoisans. So while our school buildings may be closed, our teachers will continue to teach and our students will continue to learn. The important work of educating your child will not stop, and you will continue to hear from us regularly for the remainder of the scheduled school year. We know this is a tough time, but Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will be here to support you every step of the way.

Here are some things to keep in mind as we continue moving forward together.

Remote learning will continue through the end of the school year.

This extended closure will not prevent us from providing your child with the quality education they deserve. Robust remote learning plans will continue through June 18, 2020—the last day of scheduled classes. Your child’s school will continue providing high-quality learning options that meet your family’s needs.

  • Visit cps.edu/remotelearning for the most up-to-date information on remote learning and to access valuable learning resources.
  • If your school is providing remote learning online and your child needs a device, please contact their principal.
  • Please see these best practices for important information about privacy and confidentiality when engaging in virtual learning.
  • Your involvement is key to ensuring your child puts forth their best effort. Please take advantage of the resources offered by your school, including remote office hours with your child’s teachers.
  • Please utilize Parent Portal to monitor your child’s progress. Click here for more information on Parent Portal and contact your child’s school with questions.

Grab-and-Go meals will be available for the rest of the school year.

Even as schools remain closed, we are committed to providing free, healthy meals for the rest of the school year. To date, we have served more than five million meals, and families in need can pick up grab-and-go meals at more than 270 meal sites around the city.

  • To find a meal site near you, please visit cps.edu/mealsites.
  • You can pick up three days worth of meals for your child at any site from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.

We recognize there are a number of outstanding questions regarding the end of the school year, including grading in quarter four, grade advancement, and requirements for graduation. We are working to quickly answer these questions and will update you as soon as possible.

None of us could’ve imagined that the final stretch of our school year would look like this, but just as we’ve done since this journey began, we will work together to pull each other through. We are here for you, and we will come out stronger on the other side.

Please stay safe, healthy, and connected.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear Parents and Families,

We hope this email finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. We are reaching out today to provide you with a quick update on remote learning and information about the end of the third quarter.

Remote learning kicked off on Monday

Your child’s teacher is connecting with students through engaging lessons and routines. Please encourage your child to participate in remote learning every day.

  • The district is monitoring student participation to ensure our students continue to learn and make academic progress. Your child’s school will reach out to you if they do not see or hear from your child each week. Please make sure your child’s school has up-to-date contact information for your family.
  • If your child needs a device to access remote learning, please contact your principal.
  • Remote learning will not take place on Friday, April 17, as it is a school improvement day on the CPS calendar.

Third Quarter ends tomorrow.

Tomorrow, April 16, is the final day of the third quarter. As a reminder, work submitted after March 17 can improve, not lower, the third quarter grades your child had when schools closed.

  • Please utilize Parent Portal to monitor your child’s progress. Click here for more information on Parent Portal and contact your child’s school with questions.
  • On April 22 and 23, your child’s teacher will hold remote office hours so you have an opportunity to discuss your child’s progress and third quarter grades. Please be on the lookout for more information from your child’s school on scheduling a time.
  • You will not be expected to pick up your child’s report card at their school. The district will mail report cards and Individualized Education Program report cards to your home the week of April 20.

We know that learning at home may be incredibly challenging for students and parents, and we thank you for all you have done this week to help your child learn in a new way. We do not yet have answers to all outstanding questions related to the state-mandated closure, such as fourth quarter grading, grade promotion, and end-of-year activities. Please know that we are committed to providing you with regular updates, and we expect to have additional information for you by the end of the week.

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Family,

We won’t be the first to say that this has been a difficult school year. As leaders of our district, we know the anxiety about school being closed amidst a global health emergency can be exhausting. But we also know that we are a district on the rise because of our people—from our emergency personnel who haven’t taken a day off of work and our dedicated teachers to our remarkable students and families who remain involved every step of the way. We remain on the rise during this challenging time, and even when it feels like we have to be superhuman to provide our young people with the education they deserve, we only need to remind ourselves that we are strong enough to meet the challenge ahead.

When our schools are open, their value to the community they serve is evident. But in some ways, this value is made clearest when the buildings are closed. Over the past few weeks, we have been amazed by the countless individuals across the district who have selflessly stepped up to assist our school communities. In particular, we want to recognize our food service staff, Safe Passage workers, and school administrators who have worked together to help our schools provide over 4 million meals to families so far. We will continue to support our students for as long as this crisis keeps us apart.

As former CPS teachers, we know that the bonds formed between students, teachers, and administrators can often be best described as magical. It’s encouraging to know that though we are separated, that magic is uniting us in ways that we have never seen before. From Agassiz students leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance every morning to virtual story time with Principal Lavin at Brentano to the Art+ Challenge created by Lindblom art teacher Ms. Crone, our district continues to teach, learn, and grow together. We encourage those seeking inspiration to look no further than your classmates, colleagues, and fellow Chicagoans.

Learning at Home

Today, April 13, marks the beginning of the next phase of this uncharted journey. Our remote learning plans are rooted in the same core values as our Five-Year Vision: providing students with high-quality learning opportunities that meet their unique needs and empowering educators to equitably provide student-centered academic experiences. These values have guided every decision behind these plans, including creating specific resources for engaging students in temporary living situations, diverse learners, and English learners; ensuring instructional resources are available in both digital and printed materials; and distributing more than 100,000 devices to families to support student learning.

If there’s one word we want everyone to lock in on in the coming days, it’s engagement. We should think about how we can engage with and check in on each other to ensure everyone in our CPS family feels supported. Above all else, we need to engage our students so they can continue to reach their full potential.

Even during our toughest days, we should find comfort in knowing this situation is not permanent and we will be reunited soon. Until that time comes, let’s focus on continuing to take care of ourselves and each other. Today, we will be attempting to do in weeks what would normally take years to plan, and we should practice kindness, patience, and grace with each other. There will, undoubtedly, be bumps along the road, but it’s critically important that we continue to support each other until we get to the other side of this global health emergency. Until then, let’s all work to ensure that we have created an environment where students can continue to learn and teachers can continue to teach.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Family,

While we know this is not the spring break you anticipated, we hope this week has provided you a chance to relax and gear up for remote learning, which begins this Monday, April 13. Our district has been working around the clock to create remote learning plans that will meet the unique needs of every student. We thank our dedicated teams for taking on this monumental task and applaud everyone for successfully completing years of work in just a few weeks.

Launching Our Remote Learning Plan

Our schools have been busy connecting with families about what remote learning will look like for their children. To ensure greater access to virtual learning opportunities, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is distributing more than 100,000 devices to students in communities around our city. If your child needs a device to access digital remote learning, please contact the Information and Technology Services Parent Support Help Line at 773-417-1060 Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. We have also created this guide to help families explore how they can get connected to the Internet for remote learning.

CPS is committed to providing high-quality learning options for all students from Monday, April 13, through the end of our state-mandated closure. Please note that remote learning will not take place on Friday, April 17, as it is a professional development day for teachers on the CPS calendar.

We urge all families to visit cps.edu/remotelearning for the most up-to-date information on remote learning and to access valuable remote learning resources for their children. For students participating in remote learning virtually, please see these best practices for important information about privacy and confidentiality.

Updated Locations for Grab-and-Go Meals

CPS has distributed nearly five million meals since the start of the school closure on March 17, and we remain committed to providing our families with free, healthy meals for as long as our school closure lasts. To give families the most consistent experience when picking up food and to better support school staff, we announced last week that grab-and-go meal sites were being consolidated.

Beginning Monday, April 13, families may pick up meals at one of more than 270 CPS schools. Meals can be picked up Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. To find the meal distribution site nearest you, visit cps.edu/mealsites.

On Monday, we will all begin a journey into uncharted territory. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, but we know that if we work together, we can provide our children with the education they need to remain on track and continue growing until we can all be together again. We thank you for your partnership and look forward to starting this new chapter as one CPS family.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Family,

As we wrap up this week, we want to thank you for your strength and resilience. It has been encouraging to see the different ways our CPS family is supporting each other, and we hope you find this video as heartwarming as we do.

Although this is far from a typical school year, our district’s scheduled spring break is next week. We hope our families, teachers, and principals can use this time to rest and recover. Together, we are going to flip the switch on remote learning for the third largest school district in America in a matter of weeks—not years. Even in normal times, this would be a monumental effort. We encourage everyone to use spring break to catch their breath, and we will restart school virtually on April 13.

We have several important reminders and updates to share with you before break begins.

We’ve developed several resources to help you prepare for remote learning.

Our schools have been working hard to design remote learning plans that will provide our students with high-quality learning opportunities after spring break and through the remainder of the state-mandated closure. For more information about remote learning and enrichment activities, please visit cps.edu/remotelearning. As part of the district’s effort to make remote learning accessible for students in need, schools will be distributing more than 100,000 devices so students are able take part in learning activities at home. These devices include 65,000 school-based Chromebooks, laptops and iPads; 37,000 new devices; and additional devices through potential philanthropic contributions. Schools will be coordinating this effort with their respective school communities. We also developed this guide for families who wish to learn about different options for getting connected to the internet for remote learning.

Grab-and-Go meal sites have changed to better serve our communities.

To provide our families with the most consistent services while picking up grab-and-go meals during the closure and to better support school staff, food distribution sites will be changing. During spring break, families may pick up grab-and-go meals at more than 130 school sites across the city from Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Meal sites will not be open on Friday, April 10 to give our staff members off for Good Friday, and we ask families to plan accordingly. Beginning the following week, Monday, April 13, more than 270 schools that have been high demand distribution sites for families will be open to provide free meals. Find the meal site closest to you at cps.edu/mealsites.

Safe Passage routes will no longer be active while schools are closed.

Since the beginning of school closures, our Safe Passage workers have played an important and valuable role in supporting families as they access grab-and-go meals. Under the redesigned meal distribution plan, our families will be picking up meals along different routes that do not match up with our standard Safe Passage routes. Because of this change, Safe Passage workers will no longer be stationed on their usual routes. However, as part of our commitment to our staff, Safe Passage workers will continue to be paid. While schools remain closed, the district will partner with Safe Passage to identify other opportunities for workers to support families.

Filling out the Census is important to ensure our district gets the resources we need.

We encourage you to take some time over the next week to fill out the U.S. Census. Data from the Census helps ensure our city gets enough resources from the federal government. The more households fill out the Census, the more funding we will get to help invest in our schools and neighborhoods. You can fill out the Census online, by phone, or by mail. Please note that the Census does not ask for your immigration or citizenship status, and every response is confidential.

CPS stands with each and every one of you, and we will do whatever we can to help our school communities through this time.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff,

This past month has been an unprecedented challenge for all of us. As difficult as it has been to see our normal lives put on pause, we are incredibly proud of our CPS family and how you have moved to protect the health of our city. Today, Governor Pritzker announced that the state-wide mandated school closures will be extended through April 30.

As hard as this is, it is what we need to do in order to keep our city safe, and we promise that we are working diligently to support our students, families, and staff members through these closures.

Important Reminders

Healthy meals are available to our students.

Since our schools closed, over 2.1 million free grab-and-go meals have been provided to CPS families. Families can continue to pick up grab-and-go meals at their neighborhood CPS school from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Remote learning will begin on April 13, 2020.

Earlier this week, we announced our Pre-K–12 remote learning plan to keep our students engaged, learning, and connected to their school community during the closure.

  • Remote learning assignments and activities will only improve student grades. Our aim is to increase learning, not to negatively impact our students during school closures.
  • The district will be distributing more than 100,000 devices to help narrow the digital divide during this period.
  • Please visit cps.edu/remotelearning, to learn more.

You can take crucial actions every day to help protect yourself and your community.

If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the CPS Command Center at 773-553-KIDS (5437).

We will get through this together.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff,

This past month has been an unprecedented challenge for all of us. As difficult as it has been to see our normal lives put on pause, we are incredibly proud of our CPS family and how you have moved to protect the health of our city. Today, Governor Pritzker announced that the state-wide mandated school closures will be extended through April 30.

As hard as this is, it is what we need to do in order to keep our city safe, and we promise that we are working diligently to support our students, families, and staff members through these closures.

Important Reminders

Healthy meals are available to our students.

Since our schools closed, over 2.1 million free grab-and-go meals have been provided to CPS families. Families can continue to pick up grab-and-go meals at their neighborhood CPS school from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Remote learning will begin on April 13, 2020.

Earlier this week, we announced our Pre-K–12 remote learning plan to keep our students engaged, learning, and connected to their school community during the closure.

  • Remote learning assignments and activities will only improve student grades. Our aim is to increase learning, not to negatively impact our students during school closures.
  • The district will be distributing more than 100,000 devices to help narrow the digital divide during this period.
  • Please visit cps.edu/remotelearning, to learn more.

You can take crucial actions every day to help protect yourself and your community.

If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the CPS Command Center at 773-553-KIDS (5437).

We will get through this together.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Families and Supporters,

Today, the district is announcing a Pre-K–12 remote learning plan as part of our response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. While this plan will not replace the classroom learning experience or completely bridge the digital divide that exists in our city, it is a full-throttle effort from the district to empower our educators and provide them with the resources they need to engage students in high-quality learning opportunities while schools are closed.

This plan is not a one-size-fits-all approach—every school community is different, and each school will be notifying families of their plans by April 6, and in alignment with new guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education, remote learning plans will begin April 13, following our scheduled spring break.

Remote learning will only improve a student’s academic standing.

Students will be offered both digital and non-digital learning options, as well as dedicated “office hours,” where students and families can receive support from teachers via Google Meet, phone, or email. While students are expected to complete assignments and schools are able to grade work, grades will be counted only if they improve a student’s grade and will not negatively impact any student’s academic standing. Students who do not engage in academic work can be issued an incomplete and will be expected to make up incomplete assignments following the remote learning period.

The district will be distributing more than 100,000 devices to narrow the digital divide.

We recognize that a significant digital divide exists in our city and throughout the country, and schools will ensure that families who lack access to technology can utilize printed materials that will be created by the district. And while we are taking steps to help ensure instructional resources exist in a variety of formats, we are also taking seriously our responsibility to help narrow that digital divide. Utilizing socioeconomic data and hardship indicators, and working in close collaboration with our school principals, the district will be distributing 65,000 school-based Chromebooks, laptops and iPads; 37,000 new devices; and additional devices through potential philanthropic contributions. In total, we will distribute more than 100,000 devices to families in the weeks ahead to ensure our students have significantly more access to electronic learning resources.

Remote learning will begin Monday, April 13 and remain in place until schools reopen—which is currently scheduled for Tuesday, April 21. However, should the need arise, we designed our remote learning plan to support our students’ academic progress if the closure is extended further.

The road ahead is uncharted territory for all of us, but we could not ask for a more dedicated and talented group of educators to stand beside as we blaze this new trail. We are fully prepared to support our principals and educators as they make plans to educate our students remotely, and we are confident our remote learning plan provides the framework and tools for our teachers to succeed.

Schools will share detailed information about their remote learning plans with families prior to the start of spring break on Monday, April 6. In the meantime, enrichment resources for students are available at www.cps.edu/remotelearning. CPS will update these resources every two weeks.

We want to thank everyone for their patience as we flesh out our response to this public health emergency, and we promise to continue updating all CPS stakeholders as decisions are made and new resources become available. There are many outstanding questions left to be addressed including graduation, college entry, grade promotion, and admission to selective-enrollment schools. Our commitment to you is that we will be transparent and continue providing regular updates.

We thank you for your continued support during this challenging time and hope all in our CPS community remain healthy and safe. Please remember to stay at home and practice social distancing whenever you are out. This is how we will achieve what we all want, which is to slow the spread of COVID-19 and see our students and staff return to school as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Community,

We hope you and your families are doing well. During these uncertain times, it’s critically important that we all come together to support each other. We ask that you consider giving just a little more of yourself to your fellow Chicagoans. It’s these moments of give and take that will strengthen the bonds of our community.

To that end, today we are asking for your support in three vital ways:

  1. Volunteer to work with the children of Chicago’s First Responders. While first responders, healthcare professionals, and other essential personnel work on the frontlines during the fight against the spread of COVID-19, their families are in dire need of child care during this unprecedented time.

    You can help by volunteering to provide child care for the family of one of these workers keeping our city going through Sittercity’s “Chicago Responds” program. Launched in partnership with the City of Chicago, the “Chicago Responds” program will connect members of the public and public-sector employees like yourselves with first responders who are looking for volunteers to provide sitter services in their homes. The program will also give all Chicago parents working as first responders free access to Sittercity Premium. Please consider donating your time to these local heroes and their families by signing up at www.sittercity.com/chicagoresponds.

    If you are a licensed medical professional, please consider volunteering with the Illinois Medical Reserve Corps. Please help Illinois provide the surge capacity needed for public health emergencies. Additionally, volunteers of all backgrounds are welcomed and are encouraged to register. There will be a need for volunteers with all types of skills and expertise, such as those who are skilled in: interpretation (languages and hearing impaired); administration; transportation training; provision of daycare, IT and security services. Learn more at www.illinoishelps.net/

  2. Share information with essential workers on how to secure reliable, safe childcare during the school closure period. If you or someone you know are an essential worker in need of childcare during the school closure period, please consider using or sharing information on Chicago’s Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies helpline.

    A dedicated helpline has been created so Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) can help connect essential worker families to emergency child care. Call toll-free (888) 228-1146. The helpline will be available from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM Monday through Friday to answer calls, but callers will be able to leave a message 24 hours a day.

  3. Follow the statewide Stay at Home order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Under Governor Pritzker’s Stay at Home order, all Illinois residents have been asked to stay home except for essential needs and to maintain at least six feet of distance from others at all times. Earlier today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot implemented additional measures to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic through social distancing, including immediately closing the city’s Lakefront, Riverwalk, 606 trail, and all adjacent parks.

    Please note that outside of food distribution, all CPS schools and playgrounds are closed to the public. The playgrounds in particular pose a high risk for transmission and it is critically important that we take these measures seriously and do our part to keep ourselves and our communities healthy.

We thank you for your support of our first responder families and everyone throughout the city of Chicago. This is an unprecedented challenge for all of us, and our team is committed to supporting you however we can. We will continue to keep you updated, and we look forward to welcoming you back to your schools as soon as possible.

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff,

We are writing today to provide you with the latest updates on Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS’) response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). As you know, the situation is changing quickly, and the public health response is evolving, too.

During the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) was focused most on containing the spread of COVID-19. These efforts meant identifying suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chicago, finding and interviewing all direct contacts, and monitoring those contacts for the 14-day quarantine period. As the virus has moved into the community spread phase, CDPH is adapting its response to best keep our communities safe.

CDPH will continue to notify CPS if they learn of students or staff who test positive for COVID-19.

Upon verification from CDPH that a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, CPS will notify and advise schools about the next steps, as appropriate, following the guidance of CDPH. Persons believed to have had close contact with verified cases will be advised in a manner consistent with the most up-to-date guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Starting March 31, 14 days after schools were closed, CPS will no longer notify school communities to self-quarantine if a member of their school community tests positive, with the exception of emergency personnel who continue to diligently work in our schools. School-wide notifications are no longer necessary following the 14-day window because there is no longer a risk that transmission occurred while school was in session.

Help fight the spread of rumors and protect the privacy rights of our community.

Despite our fears, we cannot abandon our commitment to treating others with respect and dignity, nor can we violate others’ privacy or protected health information. Sharing unconfirmed information about those who have tested positive for COVID-19 will not contain the spread of the virus, but it can potentially hurt community members by isolating and stigmatizing them. Discrimination and stigma will make the pain that this pandemic has caused even worse. It is everyone’s responsibility to protect personal health information during the COVID-19 health crisis.

It is important to note that each person has the right to control their own personal health information, and the district cannot require employees, students, or their families to disclose.

We are committed to supporting each of our school communities through this pandemic, and we will continue to send regular updates about the district’s response and how we are working to keep our students and staff members healthy and safe. Please stay up to date on the actions we all can take to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 using trusted sources (e.g., the CDC, the CDPH, and CPS).

We are here for you. Contact OSHW at oshw@cps.edu or 773-553-KIDS (5437) if you need help locating medical care or have questions.

We want to acknowledge that our world seems to change in the blink of an eye. Uncertainties raise so many questions. We ask that you take care of yourselves and each other. Physical distances may be necessary to minimize our risk, but social cohesion and emotional closeness will keep us well.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Fox, MD
Chief Health Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Allison Arwady, MD
Commissioner
Chicago Department of Public Health

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff,

Earlier today, Governor Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order starting Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m. through April 7, 2020, and Mayor Lightfoot ordered all Chicago parks to close at close of business today and libraries to close at 12 p.m. tomorrow to slow the spread of COVID-19. We support the Governor’s decision to prioritize the health and wellbeing of everyone in our state. 

We understand that this decision will present additional challenges for our students and their families, and remain committed to leveraging the district’s resources to support families through this time. From meals, to information, to enrichment activities to help keep students engaged, we will continue coming together to support each other as one district, one family. I want to thank all of our custodians, building engineers, school administrators, nutrition, Safe Passage, and security staff who have worked tirelessly so our schools could provide more than half a million meals to our families in need. We will continue to offer free packages of food that contain three days worth of meals for every child in a household between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. every weekday.

We also recognize that there remain many issues to resolve such as grade promotions, admissions to selective schools, and high school graduation. The district is working through these issues now and we are committed to updating families as soon as possible. 

The challenges we will face in the days ahead are unprecedented, but not insurmountable. We thank you for your patience and support and promise to keep you updated as the situation develops.

For the most reliable information regarding COVID-19, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. For school-specific updates, visit www.cps.edu/coronavirus. If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health & Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the Healthy CPS Hotline 773-553-KIDS (5437).

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff:

As Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced tonight, Chicago Public Schools will remain closed until Tuesday, April 21, 2020. While we want to reopen schools as soon as possible, this is a very serious challenge and we support the mayor’s decision to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our city. As the situation develops, we will continue to provide families with regular updates.

We recognize the significant impact the closures have had on every member of our school community, and we remain committed to doing all we can to support our students and families in the days ahead. Since the beginning of the closure, we have provided more than 90,000 packages of food to our families in need, and we will continue to offer free packages of food that contain three days worth of meals for every child in a household. Thanks to the incredibly dedicated staff who are supporting this effort in our schools, food can be picked up between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. every weekday. In addition to the amazing food service workers, thank you to our principals, assistant principals, and network staff for the support.

Due to the extended closure period, it is necessary for the district to reassess significant events on the school calendar and annual student and school assessment timelines and procedures. As a result of today’s decision, the district will seek a one-year waiver from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) on the district’s School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) and recommend to the Chicago Board of Education that we maintain the current SQRP ratings and carry them forward into next school year. Given the unprecedented situation we are in, carrying over SQRP ratings is the best available and most fair option for our school communities.

In addition to the recommendation to carry over SQRP ratings, the district is also revising its assessment schedule based on the extended closure period. While the district continues to work through the long-term implications of the mayor’s decision, we are canceling end-of-year assessments including:

  • NWEA
  • STAR Assessment
  • REACH Performance Tasks

We are working closely with ISBE, City Colleges of Chicago, the College Board, and our other partners to understand how this closure will impact other assessments such as the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, PSAT/SAT, Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment courses, and Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams as well as graduation requirements and grade promotion. While changes to the assessment calendar will likely be necessary, we are committed to ensuring students can access critical assessments tied to college entry, selective enrollment admission, graduation, and grade promotion.

We recognize that this is not an exhaustive list of all of the academic opportunities and policies impacted by this closure, and as decisions are made by the state and federal government, we will continue to provide you updates in a timely manner.

To help support students and families while class is not in session, the district posted enrichment resources and materials at cps.edu/enrichmentresources and provided students with hard copies of these materials prior to the beginning of the closure. Educators and parents can access these resources at cps.edu/enrichmentresources and build upon these materials as they see fit to keep children engaged through spring break. In the days ahead, we will be providing additional resources and guidance.

The challenges we face ahead are unprecedented but not insurmountable. We recognize there are a number of significant outstanding questions about our normal school policies and procedures, and we will provide updates and guidance as soon as possible. We will make it through this uncertain time together—as one district, one family.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear Parents and Families,

The health and wellness of our CPS community is our top priority. Following orders from the state due to the COVID-19 health crisis, all district schools are now closed through Monday, March 30. I recognize the impact this closure will have on our community, and I know it will greatly burden our students, staff, and working families who rely on our schools. COVID-19 will not stop our work on behalf of children, and we are here to support you.

Here are several important reminders:

School Building Access and Food Assistance for Families

  • Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, all school facilities will be closed for deep cleaning, and you will not be permitted to enter the building during the closure.
  • While schools are closed, CPS will provide our students with healthy meals. CPS families can pick up free food boxes at any CPS school, with the exception of Vaughn Occupational High School and Sheridan Math and Science Academy, that will contain three days of breakfast and lunch for every student in the household. Food pick-up will be held outdoors, and Safe Passage workers will be on their normally assigned routes while families are getting meals. If you need assistance, please call the CPS Command Center at 773-553-KIDS (5437) or email familyservices@cps.edu.

Educational Enrichment

  • Grade-level activity packets are available to PreK-12th grade students that include non-digital and digital activities for students. These packets will not be graded, and no work sent home with students during this period will be graded. Parents can download the grade-level packets at cps.edu/enrichmentresources. Copies of the packets will also be available at food distribution sites.

Use of Digital Platforms

  • To ensure CPS is best protecting our students’ sensitive Personally Identifiable Information, such as their first and last name, date of birth, and other rostering information, we encourage schools to communicate with students and families only through CPS-approved products. However, if schools wish to suggest the use of non-approved web-based products, schools must duly inform parents and adhere to the Acceptable Use Policy should they communicate with students in the event of full or partial school closure. Keep in mind the following permitted and prohibited forms of communication:
Permitted
  • Email to student’s CPS email account
  • Messaging through CPS Group Messaging App, like Google Hangout, from an employee CPS account to a student CPS account
  • Bulk texting to groups of students as long as parent/guardian provides prior written permission for their child to receive the texts and they can opt-in to receiving the same notifications as their child
  • Communicating with students via social media if the account is used for instructional, educational or extracurricular programs, principal has provided written approval of the account, and parents are notified of the social media account and purpose
Prohibited
  • Communicating individually directly with a student through the student’s personal mobile device
  • Communicating via a student’s personal email account
  • Use of personal social media accounts to conduct CPS business or communication with students

I encourage families to stay home unless seeking medical care. For the most reliable information, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. For school-specific updates, visit www.cps.edu/coronavirus. If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health & Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the Healthy CPS Hotline 773-553-KIDS (5437).

This is an unprecedented challenge for all of us, and our team is committed to supporting you however we can. We will continue to keep you updated, and we look forward to welcoming you back to your schools as soon as possible.

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear Parents and Families,

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is committed to keeping families informed, and we are writing to update you on the most current developments regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has recently alerted the district to a confirmed case of COVID-19 involving a member at Sheridan Math and Science Academy.

Per CDPH guidance, Sheridan will be closed starting tomorrow, Monday, March 16 and will reopen when district schools reopen on Tuesday, March 31. We are asking anyone who was in Sheridan on March 9 to stay home effective immediately through Monday, March 23. Staff will be placed on a paid leave of absence, and student absences will be excused.

Following orders from the state, the district is preparing to close all schools beginning Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30. We encourage families to stay home unless seeking medical care. In the event that schools do not reopen on March 30, we encourage you to bring home personal items from school and plan accordingly.

Here are the latest updates.

School Building Access and Food Assistance for Families

  • Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, all school facilities will be closed for deep cleaning. Plan accordingly and bring any personal belongings you wish to have home. You will not be permitted to enter the building during the closure.
  • All CPS school sites will serve as food distribution sites for CPS students. Food pick-up will take place outside of the school building and begins at every school on Tuesday, March 17 and is scheduled from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Monday through Friday. CPS families can pick-up three days worth of meals at time, each with two meals per child. If you need assistance, please call the CPS Command Center at 773-553-KIDS (5437) or email familyservices@cps.edu.

Educational Enrichment

  • The CPS Office of Teaching and Learning will provide grade-level activity packets for PreK-12th grade that include non-digital and digital activities for students. Parents can download the grade-level packets at cps.edu/enrichmentresources

Use of Digital Platforms

  • To ensure CPS is best protecting our students’ sensitive Personally Identifiable Information, such as their first and last name, date of birth, and other rostering information, we encourage schools to communicate with students and families only through CPS-approved products. However, if schools wish to suggest the use of non-approved web-based products, schools must duly inform parents.

Acceptable Use Policy

  • Administrators, teachers, and school staff are required to still adhere to the Acceptable Use Policy should they communicate with students in the event of full or partial school closure. Keep in mind the following permitted and prohibited forms of communication:
Permitted
  • Email to student’s CPS email account
  • Messaging through CPS Group Messaging App, like Google Hangout, from an employee CPS account to a student CPS account*
  • Bulk texting to groups of students as long as parent/guardian provides prior written permission for their child to receive the texts and they can opt-in to receiving the same notifications as their child*
  • Communicating with students via social media if the account is used for instructional, educational or extracurricular programs, principal has provided written approval of the account, and parents are notified of the social media account and purpose
Prohibited
  • Communicating individually directly with a student through the student’s personal mobile device
  • Communicating via a student’s personal email account
  • Use of personal social media accounts to conduct CPS business or communication with students

For the most reliable information, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. For school-specific updates, visit www.cps.edu/coronavirus. If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health & Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the Healthy CPS Hotline 773-553-KIDS (5437).

The health and wellness of our students and staff are the district’s highest priority. We are working closely with local, state, and federal health officials to respond immediately to the situation, and we will provide regular updates as the situation develops.

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Kenneth Fox, M.D.
Chief Health Officer
Chicago Public Health

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff,

The past several weeks have been difficult as we’ve watched the COVID-19 health crisis impact countries around the world, and now our home. Today, Governor Pritzker announced that all Illinois schools, including Chicago Public Schools, will close beginning Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30. Classes are currently scheduled to resume on Tuesday, March 31. School-sponsored activities, events, field trips, and athletic events are also canceled during this time.

I recognize the impact this closure will have on our community, and I know it will greatly burden our students, staff, and working families who rely on our schools. I want to assure you that COVID-19 will not stop our work on behalf of children. We are one family with one goal, and we are here to support you.

Important Information for Families and Staff

All school buildings will be closed for deep cleaning. Schools will be closed to all students and staff beginning Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30. Only environmental cleaning experts will be allowed in school buildings along with essential staff. Families should not send their children to schools.

Healthy meals will be available to our students. We recognize that our schools provide healthy meals to many of our students, and we will be providing free food boxes that will contain three days of breakfast and lunches for every student in the household. All families will be able to pick up meals at their nearest CPS school beginning Tuesday, March 17, between 9 a.m and 1 p.m. daily. Lunchroom staff will prep, bag, and provide meals outside of the school building.

Schools will be sending enrichment resources and materials home with students. On Monday, March 16, school-based staff will send resources home in hard copy and online format. School-based staff members will also help students remember to take supplies, personal belongings, medications, and other materials home with them.

All full-time and regularly scheduled staff will be paid throughout this time. School staff will not have access to school buildings during the closure.

Central and network offices will be open only for emergency personnel. Emergency personnel are considered to be those who perform essential district functions. All other central and network office staff will be asked to telework or will be excused with pay. More information for staff will be forthcoming over the weekend.

Polling sites will remain at CPS locations. Deep cleaning at those schools will not begin until after the primary election.

If you have questions, email familyservices@cps.edu or call CPS Command Center at 773-553-KIDS (5437) until 7 p.m. tonight. We are working to update our Frequently Asked Questions, and encourage you to check here for updates later tonight. Specific guidance to principals and staff will be forthcoming.

If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the CPS Command Center at 773-553-KIDS (5437).

  • If you or your child has a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and did not have direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person, please contact your primary care provider.
  • If you are concerned that you or your child have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact the CDPH at coronavirus@chicago.gov or call 312-746-4835.

For the most reliable information about COVID-19, please visit:

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff,

Earlier today, Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot affirmed that we will not be closing schools in Chicago or Illinois. Under their guidance, we are developing plans to ensure the health and safety of our communities. We are writing to provide the latest updates on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

New CPS Guidance on Travel and Group Activities

To help prevent community spread of COVID-19, CPS has issued restrictions on both travel and group activities. This guidance will be available in different languages later this week.

All travel conducted on behalf of the district beyond city limits is canceled through spring break.

All travel on behalf of the district, including school-sanctioned trips beyond Chicago city limits, are canceled through the end of Spring Break (April 12). Additional guidance will be issued for post-spring break travel in the upcoming weeks.

We know that schools and parents may have entered into contracts for school-sanctioned domestic and international trips, and principals are encouraged to contact the School Support Center for guidance on how to assist parents with recovering funds from providers and assess options for reimbursement.

While no personal domestic travel restrictions are in place at this time, we encourage everyone to closely monitor CDC Travel Guidance for up-to-date travel restrictions and necessary health precautions to limit your exposure to COVID-19. If you or your travel companion(s) are at higher risk of severe illness, you should avoid all nonessential travel.

Our international travel guidelines remain the same. All international trips on behalf of the district are canceled.

Anyone who has traveled to a location, including airport layovers, with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 (Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notices) should stay home for 14 days after their return date. The district is providing a paid leave of absence to employees returning from a Level 2 or 3 location, and student absences will be excused.

If you return from travel and experience fever and respiratory symptoms, please contact your medical provider immediately.

We are limiting group activities and events. Sports will be suspended until further notice.

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced today that it has canceled its remaining winter State Series postseason tournaments, which include Boys Basketball, Scholastic Bowl, Drama & Group Interpretation, Music, Debate, and Journalism, over concerns related to COVID-19.

Essential school activities involving students and staff (i.e., lunch periods, recess, etc.) will proceed as normal. Non-essential activities (i.e., assemblies, pep rallies) or activities outside of the normal school day with more than 50 participants must be canceled or held virtually. In addition, group gatherings of fewer than 50 people must only be held if absolutely necessary.

After-school programming will continue as scheduled aligned to new guidelines on gatherings.

We are limiting visitors to CPS schools and facilities.

Effective immediately, principals will limit any non-essential visitors to CPS schools, and schools must suspend the use of all indoor spaces by community organizations until further notice. In addition, CPS staff will only travel between schools or offices if such travel is essential to their work.

Complete details on travel and group gathering restrictions being issued by CPS can be found here.

We are committed to providing updates to the CPS community.

We are glad to report that no additional students or staff from Vaughn Occupational High School have tested positive for COVID-19. Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials are continuing to test those who have shown symptoms of the virus, but this news is encouraging. All students and school staff from Vaughn, including clinicians, will remain self-quarantined until March 18, and we will continue to update you as testing proceeds. The district has also begun making food deliveries for families who lack transportation and will continue to provide other supports as needed.

Please be assured that if there is a positive case concerning an individual who has entered a CPS facility, CDPH will immediately notify our Chief Health Officer, and the district will immediately reach out to the school community with next steps. The best measures you can take at this time is to ensure your emergency contact information is up to date with your school and stay informed about how to keep you and your family healthy. Please refer to the trusted resources linked in the next section of this email.

Rely on trusted information.

As the situation with COVID-19 develops, CPS will continue issuing email updates. We’ve also developed an FAQ for students, families, and staff. For the most reliable information about COVID-19, please visit:

Support is available to you.

  • If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the Healthy CPS Hotline 773-553-KIDS (5437).
  • If you or your child has a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and did not have direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person, please contact your primary care provider.
  • If you are concerned that you or your child have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact the CDPH at coronavirus@chicago.gov or call 312-746-4835.

We thank you for your continued patience and support as we work to ensure that all in our CPS family remain safe and healthy during this challenging time.

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Kenneth Fox, M.D.
Chief Health Officer
Chicago Public Health

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff,

We are writing to provide the latest updates on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials have continued testing Vaughn students and staff who have shown symptoms of COVID-19, and thankfully, there are still no positive results. All students and school staff, including clinicians, remain self-quarantined until March 18. I know this situation is stressful, and I want to sincerely thank each of you for your patience and support of the Vaughn community during this time.

Earlier today, the district was made aware that a CPS parent contracted COVID-19 while traveling abroad. This individual did not enter any CPS schools and CDPH is not recommending closure at this time. This situation would be classified as a secondary exposure for the students and staff at the school, and it’s important to note that exposure to COVID-19 does not necessarily mean transmission.

The family members who had direct contact with the diagnosed individual are now under self-quarantine for the recommended 14-day period. We wish their family well and hope for a speedy recovery.

As the situation develops, let’s continue to treat everyone in the CPS family with kindness and respect. As a district, we must create an environment that empowers people to come forward and report if they’re ill. Stigmatizing COVID-19 will only make us more anxious and ensure community spread.

In close consultation with CDPH, we are developing a plan of action should other members of any school community be diagnosed with COVID-19, and we will be sharing details as soon as possible. This week, we will also share a live FAQ with responses to questions that we have received in the past week from families and staff.

I also want to clarify a few points of confusion that I have been hearing and seeing on social media.

  • At the direction of public health experts at CDPH, there are no plans to close any other schools at this time. Vaughn remains an isolated incident of COVID-19 at a CPS school.
  • Testing for COVID-19 is only a useful option if someone presents with symptoms of the virus (e.g., fever, cough, and shortness of breath). Testing those who are not symptomatic would not provide us with reliable results and potentially, false negatives.
  • CDPH Commissioner Dr. Arwady has addressed many of these concerns during her regular updates to the public.

We will continue to keep you informed as this situation develops. For the most reliable information about COVID-19, please visit:

If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the Healthy CPS Hotline 773-553-KIDS (5437). If you or your child has a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and did not have direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person, please contact your primary care provider. If you are concerned that you or your child have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact the CDPH at coronavirus@chicago.gov or call 312-746-4835.

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff,

We are writing to provide the latest update regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) at Vaughn Occupational High School. We are happy to report that as of now, this case remains an isolated incident at Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Over the weekend, Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials tested Vaughn students and staff who have presented symptoms of COVID-19. Thankfully, as of now, there are no positive results. The district is also expected to finish a thorough environmental cleaning of Vaughn today.

As a parent of CPS students, I know how concerning this situation can be. We have been providing daily updates for everyone in the district because I know everyone is concerned for the health and wellbeing of the Vaughn community. We are one family, one district, and we’re going to face this challenge together. It’s critically important that our students, families, and staff at Vaughn know that we will support them through this time.

If one of your teachers or students has a loved one who is under self-quarantine, please understand what they’re going through and respond with all of the kindness and support that I know our district is capable of showing. As this situation unfolds, it’s critically important that we continue to support and look out for one another.

CDPH has also received questions about whether or not all students and staff at Vaughn should be tested for COVID-19. It is important to understand that testing is only a useful option if someone presents with symptoms of the virus (e.g., fever, cough, and shortness of breath). Testing those who are not symptomatic would not provide us with reliable results.

Right now, these are the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your school community:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We know that the news surrounding COVID-19 can be alarming and confusing. However, we stand united as a district in support of the Vaughn community. COVID-19 does not distinguish between race, nationality, or geographic borders. It is extremely important to fight stigma and discrimination in our district and to treat others with support and respect instead of fear and misinformation.

As a reminder, please ensure the district has accurate emergency contact information. We will continue to keep you informed as this situation develops. For the most reliable information about COVID-19, please visit:

If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health & Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the Healthy CPS Hotline 773-553-KIDS (5437). If you or your child has a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, please contact the CDPH at 312-746-SICK (7425).

Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff,

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is committed to providing you with updates regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) at Vaughn Occupational High School. Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) staff have and will continue to work through the weekend to ensure contact with students, faculty, and staff at Vaughn. In addition, CDPH is testing certain students or staff with COVID-19 symptoms, and the district has nearly completed a thorough environmental cleaning of Vaughn. As a precautionary measure, CPS Facilities staff will also begin disinfecting high-touch areas, such as handrails, light switches, and doorknobs, in all schools on a daily basis.

For more details on the steps the district is taking to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus among the Vaughn community, please reference the comprehensive update we provided yesterday on cps.edu/coronavirus. The update is now posted on the website in Spanish, Polish, Urdu, Arabic, and Simplified Chinese.

Please Ensure the District Has Accurate Emergency Contact Information

As this is an evolving situation, it is critical that all of our parents, families, and staff receive the most up-to-date information from the district and can be contacted in case of an emergency. We strongly encourage all parents and families to confirm their emergency contact information with their schools, and we ask staff to update their contact information with the district.

Going forward, we are requesting that all schools keep an accurate visitors log with contact information including email and phone numbers.

We will continue to keep you informed as this situation develops. For the most reliable information, please visit:

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Allison Arwady, MD
Commissioner
Chicago Public Health

Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff,

We are writing to provide you another update on the most current developments and guidance regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). At the moment, the confirmed case involving a classroom assistant at Vaughn Occupational High School remains an isolated incident and public health officials believe the immediate health risk to the general public and the broader CPS community remains low.

We understand that families and staff have questions about connections to the Vaughn school community.

People who have been at Vaughn since Tuesday, February 25 are being asked to stay home unless seeking medical care or given other direction. This applies to all students, staff, and service providers who were in the building since February 25. To reiterate, these individuals should not leave their homes through Wednesday, March 18, unless given other direction by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).

People who were not at Vaughn between February 25 and March 6 do not have restrictions at this time, even if they have been in contact with someone at Vaughn. They can attend work and school, as long as they are not sick. This applies to:

  • Family members, care providers or those who share a household with Vaughn students, staff, and service providers
  • Students, faculty and staff at other schools or other members of the community who may have come into contact with members of the Vaughn community
  • Students who shared the bus with Vaughn students

As always, and especially during flu season, anyone who becomes sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing needs to stay home. Contact your medical provider with questions.

An update was shared with the Vaughn community late last night, and CDPH staff are working throughout the weekend to call all students, faculty and staff. Beginning this weekend, Vaughn students or staff who have symptoms will begin to be tested for COVID-19. This testing must be approved by CDPH and an appointment is needed, which will be arranged through CDPH.

Based on CPDH guidance, CPS has begun a thorough cleaning of Vaughn Occupational and removed the buses that serve Vaughn students for additional cleaning according to CDC-recommended cleaning protocols. In addition, high traffic areas in all schools will also be cleaned, and schools will begin receiving additional cleaning wipes and hand sanitizers beginning Monday.

Our top priority is the health and safety of CPS students and staff, and we will continue to follow the guidance of local, state, and federal health officials in this evolving situation. CDPH has developed an FAQ that we will be updating regularly as the situation develops.

While we understand that this is a concerning development, it is critically important that our community share only trusted sources of information and not spread misinformation.

For the most reliable information, please visit:

We are working closely with local, state, county and federal health officials to respond to the situation and will continue to keep you informed as the situation develops.

 

Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Allison Arwady, MD
Commissioner
Chicago Public Health

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is committed to keeping families informed, and we are writing to update you on the most current developments regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has recently alerted the district to a confirmed case of COVID-19 involving a staff member at Vaughn Occupational High School. The district is working with the CDPH to conduct an assessment of any person who may have come into contact with the individual.

While we understand this is a concerning development, at the moment this remains an isolated incident and public health experts believe the immediate health risk to the general public remains low. Our top priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, and we will follow the guidance of health experts in this evolving situation.

At this time, the district is not considering closing schools based on the recommendation of local health authorities. Here are steps the district has taken to keep our students and staff safe.

  • We’ve issued comprehensive guidelines to staff, which include preventing any staff member from entering our schools for 14 days after returning from a location (including airport layovers) with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 (Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notices). We are also offering a paid leave of absence to employees who are sick and do not have a sufficient number of sick days. You can view our staff guidance document.
  • To ensure our schools have sufficient supplies, our Facilities Department has pre-ordered additional hand washing soap, disinfecting solution, and surface wipes.
  • The district will be distributing Wash Your Hands signage, in accordance with DCPH and CDC guidelines, to each of our facilities.

For the most reliable information, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. For school-specific updates, visit www.cps.edu/coronavirus. If you need help locating medical care, please reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health & Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the Healthy CPS Hotline 773-553-KIDS (5437).

The health and wellness of our students and staff are the district’s highest priority. We are working closely with local, state, and federal health officials to respond immediately to the situation, and we will provide regular updates as the situation develops.

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and we are writing to update you on the most current recommendations of local, state, and federal health authorities regarding health risks associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). In partnership with the Chicago Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the district is working to ensure our schools are safe for students and staff.

Based on what we’ve seen in affected countries, COVID-19 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness and children seem to be less likely to become ill. The virus appears to be transmitted through person-to-person contact and health authorities expect more cases may occur in Chicago and the United States. Practicing basic hygiene such as washing your hands regularly with soap is the best way to stop the transmission of the virus.

In order to keep our students, staff, and our fellow Chicagoans safe, the district has partnered with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to issue the following guidance.

If you’re sick, stay home.

  • CPS staff or students who have traveled to a location with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after their return date.
  • All sick students and employees (with symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should consult their health care provider and stay home from school or work until their symptoms resolve.
    • Student absences will be marked as excused.
  • Students who are sick will be sent home immediately. We will contact you to schedule a pick-up.
    • Please ensure your child’s school has your most up-to-date contact information.
  • Parents/guardians of children with chronic conditions (like asthma) should work with their health care providers to ensure any necessary rescue and controller medicines are on hand and take special care to keep the illnesses well-managed and under control.
  • If you need help identifying a source of primary medical care, please call 773-553-KIDS.

Practice good hygiene.

  • Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is best, especially if they are visibly dirty. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a suitable alternative.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.

According to local health authorities, no special disinfection products or methods are recommended at this time. The district has ordered additional cleaning wipes and sanitizers and will be delivering it to schools as soon as possible, in addition to performing routine cleaning and ensuring schools continue to be stocked with cleaning supplies.

As testing of COVID-19 becomes more widely available, we may begin to see new cases in the coming days and weeks. CPDH along with state and federal authorities may issue new guidance, and we will keep you updated on changes and its impact on our schools. At this time, the district is not considering closing schools based on the recommendation of local health authorities.

Finally, COVID-19 does not distinguish between race, nationality, or geographic borders. Stigma and discrimination against the afflicted discourages early reporting of symptoms and further perpetuates community spread. If you believe your child has been the victim of discrimination, please contact the Office of Student Protections and Title IX (OSP) by phone at 773-535-4400 or email at osp@cps.edu.

For the most reliable information, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the CDPH Coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 or email coronavirus@chicago.gov. You may also reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health & Wellness at oshw@cps.edu or by calling the Healthy CPS Hotline 773-553-KIDS (5437).

Sincerely,

Kenneth Fox, MD
Chief Health Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Allison Arwady, MD
Commissioner
Chicago Department of Public Health

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and we are writing to update you on the most current recommendations of city and federal health authorities regarding health risks associated with the novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

While the health risk of 2019-nCoV to the general public remains low in Chicago and the United States, we all have a part to play to keep our city, schools, and homes safe. Most families do not need to change their normal activities. However, due to the recent increase of 2019-nCoV transmission across China, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following:

  • CPS staff or students who have returned from mainland China on or after February 3, 2020 should stay home for 14 days after their return date. Student absences will be marked as excused.
  • Family members of affected staff and students should also stay home if they traveled to mainland China, and contact their primary care provider.
  • CPS staff or students who returned from mainland China prior to February 3, 2020 can remain in school if they have not developed symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
  • This interim guidance from CDPH is effective as of February 3, 2020 and does not apply retroactively to students who have been in China during the previous 14 days and are already in the United States, or those being managed as part of a contact investigation.

If you have recently traveled from mainland China before February 3, 2020 and have developed respiratory symptoms that include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, please call your primary care provider. We urge you to call ahead for advice before going to any doctor’s office or emergency department to help prevent unnecessary exposure of others to contagious illnesses.

We will keep you up to date on CDPH guidance. For the most reliable information, please visit www.chicago.gov/2019-nCoV or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the CDPH Coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 or email coronavirus@chicago.gov. You may also reach out to the CPS Office of Student Health & Wellness at oshw@cps.edu.

Kenneth Fox, MD
Chief Health Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Allison Arwady, MD
Commissioner of Health
Chicago Department of Public Health

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, May 27, 2020