CPS: No "Snow Day" Due to Heat

School system distributes fans, water as heat index reaches triple digits

By BJ Lutz
|  Friday, Aug 13, 2010  |  Updated 4:30 PM CDT
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Chicago Public Schools didn't call the heat equivalent of a "snow day" Friday, but said that absences of students due to heat would be considered excused.

With high heat a concern for a second consecutive day, CPS deployed 1,100 fans throughout the system and distributed water to students, staff and faculty, CEO Ron Huberman said Friday during a visit to Carter G. Woodson North Middle School.

He said concerned parents were being allowed to pull their children from hot classrooms, but said CPS decided against calling off classes altogether.  The teachers' union had called for classes to be canceled.

"We are very concerned about our students' safety.  Even with this heat, we believe the safest place for our place to be on a hot, summer day is in our school buildings, supervised by our hardworking and dedicated teachers in a supervised environment,"  said Huberman.

Huberman said a "snow day" would have been more strongly considered if the heat trend were to continue.

Window air conditioning units are not permitted in schools due to current building codes, Huberman said, but added that CPS was working with the building department and the commissioner to work through that hurdle.

Portable air conditioning units on wheels are also being considered as an option, he said.

Nearly 100,000 students went back to school at the start of the week under the "Track E" program.  Year-round students attend school the same number of days as their traditional fall to summer counterparts.  But instead of a long summer vacation, Track E students take a number of two and three week "intercessions" throughout the year.

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