CPS Schools to Stay Open Monday

UPDATE: District Officials Have Change-of-Heart, Cancel Classes

Despite bitter cold temps expected for the Chicago area Monday, school will still be in session for many Chicago schools.

Chicago Public Schools announced on their website Friday that schools will be open Monday and Tuesday.

A parent with a child at Blaine Elementary School said an automated message from CPS said building engineers will be in schools Sunday to ensure buildings are warm for students as they return Monday.

Monday's high is predicted to reach -7, and morning lows could drop below -10 with wind chills as low as -30 to -40.

The last time O'Hare International Airport recorded a sub-zero high was Jan.15, 2009, with -1 degrees, according to the NWS. The all-time lowest high temp was -11 on Jan. 18, 1994, and Dec. 24, 1983.

On Monday, Chicago could be colder than Barrow, Ala. Models shows Barrow's forecast high is 0 degrees, while Chicago's is -7.

The chill persists Tuesday as temperatures remain well below zero and -5 overnight. Low temps could dip to -15, and wind chill values will plunge even lower, National Weather Service meteorologists predicted. Chicago officials warned of the dangerous effects.

The decision has concerned several parents and city residents.

"I know it's Chicago and we're cold, but I mean when you're talking polar temperatures... I have concerns," said parent Christina Klinger-Mcarthur. "My son doesn't have special clothing like what they wear in Antarctica."

And Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis echoed those concerns.

 Klinger-Mcarthur said her son walks to and from Beaubien Elementary School in Jefferson Park.

She said the message also said if parents choose to keep a child at home it will be considered an “excused absence.”

"I can take him to school but I can't pick him up because I'm at work," she said. "I'm keeping him home Monday for sure."

"One fo the essential things in America is education and it's an extremely important decision," said Gary Schenkel, executive director of the Office of Emergency Management in Chicago. "We're leaving it up to the parents to make that decision."

CPS said a winter weather plan is in place Monday to ensure students and school personnel "have a warm, comfortable and safe learning environment."

"While all District schools are slated to be open on Monday, I strongly encourage parents to use their own discretion in deciding whether to send their child to school," CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a statement. "We will be working throughout the weekend to ensure that our buildings and school officials are ready to received students on Monday."

Safe Passage workers are still expected to be on their routes Monday and will have warming vehicles along the routes.

CPS is encouraging parents to "ensure students are properly dressed for the conditions."

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