Coronavirus update: Illinois schools closed with 105 COVID-19 cases in IL; Chicago Public Schools offering free meals

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Coronavirus update: Illinois schools closed with 105 COVID-19 cases in IL; Chicago Public Schools offering free meals
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Free meals were handed out Tuesday morning at Chicago Public Schools amid the closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Tuesday marks the first day of canceled classes for public and private schools across Illinois due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students will not be back in class until at least March 30 after Governor JB Pritzker ordered schools across the state to shut down to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Coronavirus Illinois Update: What to know about 105 COVID-19 cases, Chicago area effects

Chicago Public Schools students were given the option of being sent with a learning packet at CPS Headquarters or picking one up from their local school.

The closures are putting pressure on parents, with many working from home, to try and double up as teachers.

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"I'm not a special-Ed teacher and that's a whole 'nother level of instruction and understanding of a child," said CPS parent Anne Chalesle.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said schools all will be thoroughly cleaned. Although there have been a small number of coronavirus cases related to schools, investigations will continue if a member of a school community tests positive while schools are closed.

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While schools are closed, CPS will still feed students that need meals everyday. It's a grab-and-go option, that is set up to limit interaction.

"We set this up, so it is grab and go so that will limit interaction and touching between individuals picking and those who prepared the food," CPS CEO Dr. Janet Jackson said.

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Families can collect three days' worth of meals per child for as long as this safety shutdown continues. Parents can call 773-553-KIDS or email for questions.

Eighteen Chicago Parks will have special programs from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for children who need a place to go. Programs will be capped at 50 people. Parents need to register their child online or in person.

RELATED: How 'social distancing' slows spread of coronavirus?

A full listing of locations is available at

The Illinois Department of Public Health has created a hotline at 1-800-889-3931. More information can be found at the IDPH website and the Chicago Department of Public Health website.