Top of Page

Cluster Programs

A Day In The Life - Cluster Programs

Given the health and safety challenges associated with reopening school during a global pandemic, students, staff, and families must be prepared for school to look and feel different next year. Although these changes may feel difficult at first, we believe they are both prudent and necessary to support the safety of our students and staff. All efforts will be made for students in moderate and intensive cluster programs to have 5 in-person instructional days a week, and this is what they can expect their day to look and feel like:

  • boy with mask image

    1. Getting ready for school

    Students will complete their required sick screen protocol at home. Students will bring their clean cloth face covering with them.

  • Cartoon of a bus with a blue CTA sign behind it

    2. Traveling on the school bus

    Students wear cloth face coverings while on the school bus. School bus aides will wear appropriate PPE and offer students hand sanitizer prior to boarding the bus. Students will sit by themselves or only with their sibling and be spaced to ensure proper social distancing.

    Students who utilize public transportation to travel to school should follow social distancing guidelines, wear a mask, sanitize hands, and not board crowded trains and buses. For students who have been travel trained and have additional questions, please contact

  • A cartoon drawing of a school building

    3. Arrival at school

    Drop-off times may be staggered, and students will enter the school building through assigned entrances in order to ensure proper social distancing. Upon entering the school building, students will wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.

  • Cartoon of two students walking out the door while wearing face masks

    4. Entering the classroom

    Students will go straight to their classrooms.  Students eat meals in their room, and stay with their pod for the full school day.

  • Cartoon of a teacher in front of a chalkboard while wearing a face mask

    5. Following classroom procedures

    Classrooms will meet CPS standards for student safety: including use of masks (and PPE) and required social distancing in and outside of the classroom.

  • Cartoon drawing of washing hands in a sink

    6. Restroom/Lunch Breaks

    Pods will have designated bathrooms which will be cleaned frequently throughout the day. Students will need to wash their hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer anytime they return to their classroom space.

    Students will eat lunch in their classrooms, or if space allows, eat lunch in the cafeteria on a staggered schedule. Lunchrooms will need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between use.

  • Cartoon of four students socially distancing while reading a textbook

    7. Receiving student services

    Related service providers, English learner teachers, diverse learner teachers, and social emotional learning specialists, among others, will continue to provide student services.

    These staff members will rotate across assigned pods to provide services. If they need to see students in a pod not assigned to them, those services will be provided remotely, or with social distancing. Staff will have appropriate PPE depending on their job duties.

  • Cartoon of a doctor wearing a facemask

    8. Medical Services and Personal Care

    For students needing medical or personal care services requiring support outside the classroom, students will travel with the appropriate staff to the nurse’s office or designated area to receive these specialized services. Staff will have appropriate PPE depending on the specific support and services being provided to the student.

  • Cartoon of three students, wearing face masks while sitting at school desks

    9. Accessing Content

    Students remain in their pod throughout the day, but teachers, related services providers, and paraprofessionals may rotate across a few pods to provide instructional and related services across multiple subjects and breaks for classroom teachers.

  • Cartoon of a young child and teacher separated by six feet

    10. Exiting the building

    Students move through hallways within their pods and are socially distanced from  all other pods.

    Students leave the building through the door assigned to board yellow bus, public transportation, or parent pickup areas.

    Addressing Symptoms

    If a student arrives exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, or begins to exhibit symptoms during the day, they will be moved to the school's designated Care Room to wait until they are picked up. 


Download and display this ‘Day in the Life’ poster for Cluster Program students.

'Day in the Life’ poster for Cluster Program students