Student Health and Wellness 

District Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

April 1, 2020

Dear CPS Families,

The health and wellbeing of our students and staff is always our top priority. Since the temporary closure of our schools due to COVID-19, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has provided 2.8 million grab-and-go meals to families, and we are committed to continue providing these meals during spring break and until CPS schools reopen. 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 beginning Monday, April 6.

During the district’s scheduled spring break, which begins Monday, April 6, families may pick up grab-and-go meals at 136 school sites across the city from Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. A detailed list of spring break meal sites is available here. Beginning the following week (Monday, April 13), the district will launch a consolidated meal plan under which 276 schools that were most frequented by families will continue to provide free meals, and schools that were less utilized by families will no longer serve as distribution sites.

By consolidating sites, we will have more staff available to support each school—which will help ensure meal sites do not need to close in the event of staff absences. Lunchroom staff who are not working or assigned to a meal site will continue to be paid and be able to stay home and practice social distancing. Additionally, by reducing the number of meal sites, we will also be able to reduce the number of principals and assistant principals who are overseeing meal distribution each day, which will provide additional time for principals to support remote learning, which launches district-wide on April 13.

For the remainder of this week, CPS families can pick up free grab-and-go meals from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. at any CPS school. For the full list of meal sites open during spring break and under the consolidated site plan beginning April 13, please visit cps.edu/mealsites or call 773-553-KIDS. 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.

Supporting our families in the midst of this public health emergency is so important to us, and we thank you for your patience and understanding as our plans and resources evolve. Please continue engaging in social distancing as we work to slow the spread of this pandemic.

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.

Based on current information from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), person-to-person spread will continue to occur and more cases may be identified in Chicago and the United States.

We encourage you to read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance to learn “what you need to know” [Spanish] [Simplified Chinese].

The district will be updating this page as we gather additional guidance from local, state, and federal health officials. 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.

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.

CPS staff or students who have traveled to any location (including airport layovers) with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 should stay home for 14 calendar days after their return date.

If you’re sick, you must stay home.

  • Students and staff who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness may not come to school until they are free of fever (oral temperature below 100.4°F) for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Student absences will be marked as excused.

If your child becomes ill at school, we will ask you to take them home immediately.

  • If you’re not feeling well, we encourage you to go straight home and avoid crowds and public spaces, if possible.
  • If you have a child who needs to be sent home:
    • Your child’s school will contact the person listed as parent or legal guardian. If they cannot be reached, the school will contact the individual listed on the student’s emergency contact form.
    • Please ensure your contact information is up-to-date.
    • Until your child is picked up, the school will keep them under supervision in a suitable location away from other students.
    • Your child’s school will also provide you with upcoming classwork.

The best strategy against spreading germs is to practice good hand hygiene.

Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds remains the best strategy against spreading illness. We encourage everyone to clean their hands often. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol is a suitable alternative. Please note that small children should only use hand sanitizers under adult supervision. The use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers has raised concerns about eye contamination, skin reactions, alcohol poisoning, and flammability.

The district will provide alcohol hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes in addition to normal cleaning supplies.

At this moment, scientific evidence does not currently indicate that there is a significant advantage to the use of additional cleaning regimens or products beyond the routine processes, and public health officials have made any recommendations regarding additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning. The district will, however, ensure all quality control measures are in place to ensure a healthy and clean learning environment for students and staff.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge that 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 there is a concern related to student discrimination, please reach out to the Office of Student Protections (OSP) by calling 773-535-4400 or by emailing osp@cps.edu.
  • If this is a concern related to staff discrimination, please reach out to the Equal Opportunity Compliance Office (EOCO) by calling 773-553-1013 or by emailing eoco@cps.edu.

Congratulations to School Year 2018-2019 Healthy CPS Schools!

Jane Addams Elementary School
Air Force Academy High School
Albany Park Multicultural Academy
George Armstrong International Studies ES
Ashburn Community Elementary School
Back of the Yards IB HS
Newton Bateman Elementary School
Daniel C Beard Elementary School
Hiram H Belding Elementary School
Edward A Bouchet Math & Science Academy ES
Norman A Bridge Elementary School
Brighton Park Elementary School
Lyman A Budlong Elementary School
Marvin Camras Elementary School
Arthur E Canty Elementary School
Willa Cather Elementary School
Eliza Chappell Elementary School
Salmon P Chase Elementary School
Chicago Military Academy High School
Christopher House Charter School
George Rogers Clark Elementary School
DeWitt Clinton Elementary School
Columbia Explorers Elementary Academy
Christopher Columbus Elementary School
John C Coonley Elementary School
Daniel J Corkery Elementary School
Oscar DePriest Elementary School
Walt Disney Magnet Elementary School
Disney II Magnet School
John C Dore Elementary School
Edison Park Elementary School
Medgar Evers Elementary School
Michael Faraday Elementary School
James B Farnsworth Elementary School
Frederick Funston Elementary School
Marcus Moziah Garvey Elementary School
John W Garvy Elementary School
Frank W Gunsaulus Elementary Scholastic Academy
Alexander Hamilton Elementary School
Hawthorne Elementary Scholastic Academy
Thomas A Hendricks Elementary Community Academy
Hope Institute Learning Academy
Edward N Hurley Elementary School
Joshua D Kershaw Elementary School
LaSalle Elementary Language Academy
LaSalle II Magnet Elementary School
Richard Henry Lee Elementary School
Lenart Elementary Regional Gifted Center
Rodolfo Lozano Bilingual & International Ctr ES
Mary Lyon Elementary School
James Madison Elementary School
James Monroe Elementary School
Bernhard Moos Elementary School
Mount Vernon Elementary School
John B Murphy Elementary School
New Field Elementary School
Walter L Newberry Math & Science Academy ES
Alfred Nobel Elementary School
Northwest Middle School
William B Ogden Elementary School
Ogden International High School
Josefa Ortiz De Dominguez Elementary School
John Palmer Elementary School
Louis Pasteur Elementary School
Ferdinand Peck Elementary School
Helen Peirce International Studies ES
Manuel Perez Elementary School
Phoenix Military Academy High School
Ambrose Plamondon Elementary School
Portage Park Elementary School
William H Prescott Elementary School
Ernst Prussing Elementary School
Pulaski International School of Chicago
Robert J. Richardson Middle School
Hyman G Rickover Naval Academy High School
Socorro Sandoval Elementary School
Maria Saucedo Elementary Scholastic Academy
Sauganash Elementary School
Mark Sheridan Math & Science Academy
Jesse Sherwood Elementary School
James Shields Middle School
Skinner North
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz ES
South Shore Fine Arts Academy
Enrico Tonti Elementary School
Turner-Drew Elementary Language Academy
Mark Twain Elementary School
Ida B Wells Preparatory Elementary Academy
Eli Whitney Elementary School
Emiliano Zapata Elementary Academy

 

Healthy CPS

Healthy CPS, an initiative led by the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness (OSHW), aims to remove health-related barriers to learning so that students may succeed in college, career and life. Healthy students are better learners. Healthy CPS aligns with Healthy Chicago, the city’s first public health agenda.

The goal of Healthy CPS is to make sure students have access to a healthy school environment centered around:

  • Health policies
  • Health education
  • Healthcare services
  • Healthy foods
  • Physical activity

Our Vision:

To create a Healthy CPS that serves as a national benchmark for student health and wellness. CPS is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our students.

The Office of Student Health and Wellness is composed of four departments that work together to accomplish the Healthy CPS vision.

We encourage families to learn about the programs and services Office of Student Health and Wellness offers to ensure your child’s health and wellness needs are met and how you can get involved.

The Office of Student Health and Wellness uses two departments that work together to accomplish the Healthy CPS vision:

Student Health: Mobilizes CPS schools to align with chronic condition health policies, coordinate health services, and promote sexual health education for all students.

Vision and Hearing: Provides access to high quality vision and hearing screening services and medical follow-up, including vision and hearing exams for all CPS students.

Student Wellness: Improves healthy school environments by promoting physical activity, healthy foods and health education in schools.

  • Physical Activity - Schools support physical activity throughout the school day through recess, physical education and additional physical activity opportunities inside and outside the classroom.
  • Healthy Foods - Schools provide students with access to healthy foods and nutrition education in school.
  • LearnWELL - Helps schools follow CPS wellness policies.

Health Education and Physical Education: Ensure every CPS student receives regular high quality Health and Physical Education Instruction that is lead by a qualified teacher

        • Health Education:

    • Instruction is aligned with Common Core and national standards, and is provided to students for a minimum of 60 minutes per week
    • Instruction is led by a teacher trained in health education who demonstrates leadership in school wellness
    • Program is supported by comprehensive resources and stakeholders
    • Program emphasizes shared accountability at the student, teacher, school, and district level
    • Increase district-wide access to and utilization of exemplary Sexual Health Education
     

        • Physical Education:

    • High-quality physical education instruction is provided every day
    • Instruction is led by a teacher trained in physical education who demonstrates leadership in school wellness
    • Program is supported by comprehensive resources and stakeholders
    • Program emphasizes shared accountability at the student, teacher, school, and district level

       


Page Last Modified on Wednesday, April 01, 2020