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Teachers Union Demands CPS Close Schools As Wind Chills Could Reach -52

By Alex Parker | January 5, 2014 1:46pm
 CTU president Karen Lewis demanded CPS close schools Monday in light of the expected extreme temperatures.
CTU president Karen Lewis demanded CPS close schools Monday in light of the expected extreme temperatures.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox (file photo)

CHICAGO — With temperatures dipping to dangerously cold territory, the Chicago Teachers Union Sunday demanded Chicago Public Schools cancel classes Monday and Tuesday.

The school district has pledged to keep schools open, despite the predicted high tomorrow of -6 degrees.

"We expect nothing less when it comes to paying attention to the well-being of the children and teachers we serve,” CTU President Karen Lewis said. “In light of the forecast, sending children to school in such dangerous weather conditions shouldn't even be an option for parents."

"We believe common sense would dictate that CPS should close schools with at least 10 inches of snow already on the ground and a record-breaking low temperature of -10 degrees forecast for Monday,” she said.

Temperatures in Chicago will be brutally cold next week, with a high of -8 degrees on Monday and reaching 1 degree Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Wind chills could hit -52.

CPS said children who are absent with a parental notice will not be punished.

“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,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett in a statement Saturday. “We will be working throughout the weekend to ensure that our buildings and school officials are ready to receive students on Monday.”

The district is also working with Safe Passage vendors to ensure workers on the routes stay healthy and warm, spokesman Joel Hood said. Vendors have been briefed on cold-weather protocols, including providing workers with hot beverages, warming rooms and warm vehicles on their breaks, officials said. Managers will be doing safety checks on Safe Passage workers throughout the day.