CPS relents, cancels Monday classes due to dangerous cold - FOX 32 News Chicago

CPS relents, cancels Monday classes due to dangerous cold

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Chicago Public Schools will not be open Monday as originally planned.

The district reversed course late Sunday afternoon, regarding the cancellation of classes on what would have been the first school day back from winter break. CPS initially said schools would remain open, despite the frigid temperatures expected.

For updates, log onto the CPS website. Parents will also be kept updated via robo calls, officials said.

Check out FOX 32's school closings page here.

CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a statement:

"The safety and well-being of our students is paramount, given, the dangerously cold temperatures and high-winds, it is in the best interest of our students for schools to be closed on Monday."

Originally, CPS officials gave parents the option to send their kids to school — or keep them home.

As of Saturday morning, with bitter - perhaps record-breaking cold on its way - CPS officials "strongly encouraged" parents to use "their own discretion" in deciding whether to send children to school Monday.

To keep students warm and safe, CPS planned to: Have recess indoors; make sure boilers are turned on Sunday; and have students kept inside school until their ride arrives.

Parents were encouraged to dress their children warmly and to drop off children at the regular time. All athletic events were set to go ahead as planned.

But this announcement incurred a huge outcry on social media, by both those who have children in Chicago's school system and by those who do not. With a deep freeze on the way that the Chicago area has not seen for nearly 20 years, the public was concerned for students who would have had to walk to school.

Daytime high temperatures are not expected to reach above zero on Monday. After a weekend Winter Storm Warning ended, a Wind Chill Warning took effect at 6 p.m. on Sunday, expected to last until noon on Tuesday. With wind gusts of up to 35 miles an hour forecast, which could drop the wind chill factor to -40 to -50 degrees on Monday.

Parents like Brendan Duffy welcomed news of the closing when he found out Sunday evening.

"For single parents and working parents their kids can go to school and it will help them out they can get to work. They don't have to go to school, so I think it was the best of worlds," Duffy said.

Duffy will have to figure out where to send his son, Charlie, on Monday.

The news of the schools closing for the day came after days of outcry from the Chicago Teachers Union, saying schools should be closed because of the extreme cold.

"The predicted wind chill factor is minus 40 degrees. It's ridiculous to imagine that we would send children to school in this kind of dangerous weather. It's not bad weather, it's dangerous weather," Michael Harrington, Director of Operations for CTU said.

Chicago Public Schools' after school programs and sporting events have also been canceled. Families can look to the youth programs and services being offered by all of the Chicago park district facilities, according to CPS.

Classes may resume on Tuesday, but school officials will have to re-evaluate the weather conditions, Monday.

FOX 32 News contributed to this report.

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