No final decision made on winter sports plan, says CPS CEO Jackson

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CHICAGO — No final decision has been made regarding Chicago Public Schools winter sports season as the district continues to grapple with COVID-19, according to CPS CEO Janice Jackson.

The season is set to begin in mid-November, and CPS says science will guide their decisions.

While states surrounding Illinois were busy playing football this fall, Illinois decided to play it safe and delay the start of football season, and other fall sports, to later in the school year.

Now, it’s the winter season athletes turn to wait and see what will happen to their seasons.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports CPS anticipates beginning the winter sports season Nov. 16, but Jackson told the WGN that there is no news yet.

“We haven’t made a final decision on winter sports. Again, that’s something that will guided by what’s allowed at the state level through the Illinois High School Association for sports. However, just like we’re looking at a phased-in approach for instruction, we’re also looking at safe activities,” Jackson said during an interview Tuesday with WGN Morning News.

Last week, CPS announced it would begin a phased-in approach for in-person learning starting with pre-k and special needs students possibly as soon as next month. The district’s goal was to then move more grades back in the classroom possibly by January.

That news was announced before Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago health officials rang COVID-19 bells Monday, to warn Chicago is now seeing a second surge. The virus they say may be impacting every age group, ethnicity and neighborhood.

Jackson was asked what parents should read into the spike, as far as it’s impact on CPS’ plan for in-person learning, as well as winter sports.

“The message to parents is that the district is working extremely hard to figure out a way for our students to be back in school. We know a full return to normalcy will take a long time, maybe a year or two, I’m not 100% sure. But we want them to know, we’re not throwing in the towel. We want to see our kids back in school and engaging in the activities they think are important”, Jackson said.

The Sun-Times reports CPS is waiting on guidance from the state health department and the Illinois High School Association, which is set to release their winter sports plan on Oct. 28.

Jackson says they have been working closely with the Chicago Public Health Department to develop plans to keep students and athletes safe.

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