Coronavirus (COVID-19) School Closure Resources

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,


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. A sample packet can be seen here. Principals and teachers can elect to print the grade-level packets, which will also be available for students and families at cps.edu/coronavirus.


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

Prohibited

  • 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

  • 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, MD

Chief Health Officer

Chicago Public Schools

Digital Learning Resources
 
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BrainPOP Jr., BrainPOP ELL and BrainPOP Español
Fun educational videos and learning activities for young students, in English and Spanish. Visit
www.brainpop.com click Log In, and enter the following username and password.
Username: chicagopublicschools
Password: cps123
 
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thinking, and growing.
 
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