CPS closed Tuesday, kids have fun at youth programs - FOX 32 News Chicago

CPS closed Tuesday, kids have fun at youth programs

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago Public Schools remained closed on Tuesday due to severe winter weather in the Chicago area, including subzero temperatures and high winds. That included classes, sports and after school activities.

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District officials said in a statement Monday that they are monitoring weather conditions in the city, but the anticipated continuation of current conditions would make the commute to and from school dangerous for CPS' 400,000 students and their families. 

"We will continue to put the safety of our students and families first," CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in the release. "This historic stretch of dangerously cold weather has forced the District to remain closed until we are confident that students can return to school safely."

CPS has canceled classes four times in January, due to record-breaking cold.

FOX 32 Meteorologist Tammie Souza predicts high temperatures to only reach between -1 and 3 degrees on Tuesday. FOX 32 Meteorologist Mark Strehl said Tuesday morning will be colder than Monday morning was, since temperatures are expected to plunge several degrees below zero overnight. 

A Wind Chill Warning is in effect for the entire Chicago area until 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Wind chills could reach -30 degrees on Tuesday. But Wednesday's forecast calls for slightly warmer temperatures and calmer wind, so CPS will keep an eye on things and make a decision about classes on Tuesday.

The nation's third largest school district will continue to notify parents through the established channels: Robo-calls, emails and through Chicago media outlets. Parents can also call (773) 553-1000 or visit www.cps.edu for more information.

Parents of Chicago school kids scrambled to find a supervised place to leave their children. Some can't afford to take off work to stay home with their kids.

All Chicago Park District facilities were on Tuesday, during normal hours of operation, if parents are looking for alternative youth programs and services for their kids while they are at work. Visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com for more information, or call a specific park to speak with a representative in person.

School kids of all ages spent the day off at the Rauner Family YMCA on the Southwest Side. Working parents say when school's not in session, this gives them peace of mind.

"Usually I have my mom watch my daughter, but she is a senior citizen. With the weather, it's kind of hard for her," Nilsa Ramirez told FOX 32 News. "So I'm glad for the YMCA. But a lot of parents do struggle with the baby-sitting arrangements."

Five area YMCAs ran "School's Out" programs on Monday and Tuesday, which include two meals, games, arts, crafts, sports and homework help. Parents say they're glad their kids are active.

"It's definitely fun, but we do have the educational components in it. We have a structured program because we offer the camp when school is normally scheduled," YMCA Youth and Family Program Coordinator Danielle Palomares said. "In emergencies like this, we're already prepared to make sure we start our day at 7:30 a.m. for parents."

Some Chicago aldermen are proposing that CPS school buildings be open with a skeletal staff during inclement weather, to help parents out. But for now, the kids FOX 32 spoke with said if school isn't in session, they'd rather be at the Y.

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