Dear CPS Parents, Families, and Staff:

As Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced tonight, Chicago Public Schools will remain closed until Tuesday, April 21, 2020. While we want to reopen schools as soon as possible, this is a very serious challenge and we support the mayor’s decision to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our city. As the situation develops, we will continue to provide families with regular updates.

We recognize the significant impact the closures have had on every member of our school community, and we remain committed to doing all we can to support our students and families in the days ahead. Since the beginning of the closure, we have provided more than 90,000 packages of food to our families in need, and we will continue to offer free packages of food that contain three days worth of meals for every child in a household. Thanks to the incredibly dedicated staff who are supporting this effort in our schools, food can be picked up between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. every weekday. In addition to the amazing food service workers, thank you to our principals, assistant principals, and network staff for the support.

Due to the extended closure period, it is necessary for the district to reassess significant events on the school calendar and annual student and school assessment timelines and procedures. As a result of today’s decision, the district will seek a one-year waiver from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) on the district’s School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) and recommend to the Chicago Board of Education that we maintain the current SQRP ratings and carry them forward into next school year. Given the unprecedented situation we are in, carrying over SQRP ratings is the best available and most fair option for our school communities. 

In addition to the recommendation to carry over SQRP ratings, the district is also revising its assessment schedule based on the extended closure period. While the district continues to work through the long-term implications of the mayor’s decision, we are canceling end-of-year assessments including:

  • NWEA
  • STAR Assessment
  • REACH Performance Tasks

We are working closely with ISBE, City Colleges of Chicago, the College Board, and our other partners to understand how this closure will impact other assessments such as the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, PSAT/SAT, Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment courses, and Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams as well as graduation requirements and grade promotion. While changes to the assessment calendar will likely be necessary, we are committed to ensuring students can access critical assessments tied to college entry, selective enrollment admission, graduation, and grade promotion. 

We recognize that this is not an exhaustive list of all of the academic opportunities and policies impacted by this closure, and as decisions are made by the state and federal government, we will continue to provide you updates in a timely manner. 

To help support students and families while class is not in session, the district posted enrichment resources and materials at cps.edu/coronavirus and provided students with hard copies of these materials prior to the beginning of the closure. Educators and parents can access these resources at cps.edu/coronavirus and build upon these materials as they see fit to keep children engaged through spring break. In the days ahead, we will be providing additional resources and guidance. 

The challenges we face ahead are unprecedented but not insurmountable. We recognize there are a number of significant outstanding questions about our normal school policies and procedures, and we will provide updates and guidance as soon as possible.  We will make it through this uncertain time together—as one district, one family. 

Janice K. Jackson, EdD, Chief Executive Office, Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools

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