CHICAGO — Chicagoland school districts are preparing for today’s dangerously hot temperatures.
Some districts have gone remote while others are limiting the time kids spend in classrooms and doing outdoor activities.
“Like most CPS schools, our hallways gym and student lunchroom lack air condition,” Lauren Bianchi from the CTU said.
The Chicago Teacher’s Union Wednesday morning praised the collaborative work done ahead of the heat wave with former CTU organizer, Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago Public schools.
CPS says it is ready to keep kids safe from the extreme heat over the next few days and the CTU president is taking steps to ensure CPS is ready.
CTU president Stacy Davis Gates took a tour of Washington High School in the 3500 block of 114th Street, talking about the work the CTU has been doing to keep CPS safe with the extreme temperatures underway.
“We feel like we’ve been on the ground level of the understanding of the plan what they put forward. We also had the opportunity to get the tires on their plan point out gaps in their plan,” Gates said.
Gates pointed out the clashes between the Union with previous administrations while praising Johnson’s approach, calling him a partner.
“We are already light years ahead of where we were when we’ve been faced with challenges,” Gates said.
The Union said in 2012, their contract ensured air conditioning in all classrooms and hopes to keep the hallways cool next. Schools say it is relying heavily on window air conditioning units.
Some CPS parents confirmed yesterday with their schools so they can send their kids to school in shorts today.
“They said yes, and they were also going to keep the kids indoors for recess both Wednesday and Thursday. Maybe Friday also,” Theresa Smiel, a CPS parent said.
Other districts around Chicago have early dismissal today and some football teams will be practicing this morning instead of afterschool or will be indoors. Some districts like Crystal Lake have cancelled classes in schools without air conditioning.
The plan includes reinstating the COVID safety committees at each school so school administrators can react quickly to AC problems or other health issues related the heat.
CPS is also urging teachers to keep classroom shades down and turning off unused computers. They also encourage teachers to move classes from rooms exposed to sunlight to auditoriums and interior or lower-level rooms to keep kids cool.
“We pledge to be in contact with each other today members either proper implementation or improper implementations so things can get delt with in real time,” Gates said.
The mayor said in a statement staff will be monitoring the cooling situations at CPS’s more than 800 facilities on an ongoing basis over the next few days.