CPS lays out safety plan as school year approaches


CHICAGO — As summer break quickly winds down for CPS students, district officials laid out their comprehensive safety plan on Thursday.

CPS Supt. Pedro Martinez said teachers and staff are working diligently to make sure students have a warm welcome back to class next Monday.

“We’re still working around the clock to make sure our buildings are ready,” he said.

With recent mass shootings over the years at schools around the country, CPS and authorities performed an active shooter drill Thursday afternoon at Percy Julian High School.

“We haven’t done this since 2018 and really applaud our colleagues helping us because this is a lot of work and it does feel real so for out staff that are participating, I really applaud them because it is something that we’ll learn a lot from,” Martinez said.

The district plans to perform similar drills on an ongoing basis at different schools.

Along with safety drills, CPS is investing $2 million in the Safe Passage Program to make sure students feel safe to and from school. They are also spending $8 million in safety technology. Additionally, CPS is partnering with “Safer Schools Together” to help with social media.

Protecting students and staff from COVID-19 also remains a main concern. Martinez said district leaders and the Chicago Teachers Union are collaborating on a proposed agreement.

“With the new CDC guidance, the great news is we’re able to keep our children in-person and do it safely,” Martinez said.

CTU officials said the proposed COVID-19 safety agreement strongly recommends wearing masks, more incentives for substitutes, continued weekly testing and and keeping COVID-19 safety committees in place.

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