The Chicago Public Schools announced today it will seek a waiver from Illinois High School Association rules to allow students to continue to participate in fall sports in the event of a Teachers Union strike.
Fall sports, such as football, have already started. Under IHSA rules and policies, student participation in interscholastic activities is prohibited if there is a strike, a CPS news release noted.
“Because our student athletes cannot compete in games during a strike, this may result in CPS forfeiting critical games,” CPS Chief of Staff Robert Boik notes in his letter to IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman.
Boik says about 11,000 students would be affected in varsity sports alone. He told the IHSA that about 90 percent of the schools coaching staff are union members.
Those members, he notes, would be prohibited from working with the students if there is a strike.
“We would like to explore an exception that could allow our students to continue with Varsity sports,” Boik told the IHSA.
The announcement comes on top of news that the school district has implemented a plan called Children First.
The Children First plan calls for CPS to provide “essential services” to students in the event of a strike.
While CPS cannot teach during a strike, it says it can provide age appropriate activities to children. That plan would use 145 school sites which would open from 8.30A – 12.30P weekdays.
The Bulldog has learned that one local site listed in the Children First plan is Amundsen High School.
“Sites are selected based on the size and location of the building,” CPS says on a web site describing the Children First plan. “Students will participate in positive activities to keep them engaged, including independent reading and writing, arts and journaling, sports activities, computer-based programming, among others.”
The district said it will provide breakfast and lunch to students participating in Children First.
CPS also said Chicago Park District summer camps will be extended at 70-80 parks and there would be online learning opportunities at 79 Chicago Public Libraries.
How Do Parents Participate?
Details of the plan are still being worked out. As of the time of writing, the libraries and the parks had not replied to a request for comment and more information. Questions put to the mayors office were directed to the schools.
The schools said the plan is preliminary and details are still being worked out. We’ll update the story as new details emerge.
Request for comment from the teachers union had not yet been returned.