CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is cancelling classes on Thursday, February 19, due to a forecast that is predicting extreme cold temperatures and winds, which present a hazard to students travelling to and from schools. With the weather conditions forecast for Thursday, exposed skin is at risk of frostbite in less than 10 minutes.
“The health and safety of our students is the District’s top priority, and the extreme weather expected tomorrow could present real dangers,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Throughout my tenure as an educator, weather forecasts have become more precise and informative, and everyone is now aware of the dangers these temperatures present and the health risks that children face in these conditions. Thanks to these advances, we can make better informed decisions to protect our students.”
While classes are cancelled, CPS buildings will remain open and accept students who still arrive at schools. CPS teachers and educational support personnel are not expected at schools tomorrow, but CPS administrative staff, building engineers and custodians will report to work.
The District started to notify parents of the closure through its regular communication channels via robocalls, emails, and through media outlets. Parents can also call (773) 553-1000 or visit the CPS website for more information. All after-school and sporting activities have also been cancelled.
For families seeking alternative youth programs and services, the Chicago Public Library and all Chicago Park District facilities will be open during their normal operating hours. These times vary, parents are encouraged to check hours on their respective websites or by calling the specific library or park.
CPS continues to monitor the weather forecast for the rest of the week and anticipates classes resuming on Friday.
Throughout the winter, District maintenance crews test equipment in every school to ensure heating systems are in working order. There are also snow removal plans in place, tailored to each school, which rely on custodians, engineers and contractors to clear sidewalks, walkways and parking lots.
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.