The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will be closed Monday, as will most suburban school districts, parochial schools, and charter schools in the city and suburbs due to what NBC is calling a "polar vortex." Wisely, CPS officials reversed their earlier stand. The Chicago Teachers Union had criticized the decision to stay open.
Hundreds of public and private elementary schools, middle schools, junior high schools, high schools, universities, community colleges, and trade schools across the Chicago Metropolitan Region will be closed Monday. Many religious education classes are also cancelled. For a complete list of closed schools (and many other facilities) in the Chicago Metropolitan Region, check the Chicago Tribune's online Emergency Closing Center.
As I write this, the actual temperature is -6° with the wind chill factor, it feels like -15° Fahrenheit. The forecast is that the temperature will drop to -15° by sunrise in Chicago and it will feel like -40° in an area stretching from Chicago to Dallas. It will feel colder, about -45° in Chicago’s westernmost suburbs and be colder still in the western exurbs.
Northwest Illinois will be part of an area that includes most of Wisconsin and part of Minnesota where it will feel like -50°. Meteorologists expect the actual temperature in Green Bay and Minneapolis-St. Paul will be -21°. In Fargo, the actual temperature may be -21°.
In a small part of western Wisconsin and most of Minnesota, it will fell like -60°. At the junction of North Dakota, Minnesota, and Manitoba, it will feel like -70°.
City Colleges of Chicago have cancelled Monday classes, though the seven main campuses will have open warming centers. John Marshall Law School will be closed Monday, including the law library.
North Park University in Chicago will be closed. Both Concordia University and Dominican University (formerly Rosary College) in River Forest will be closed.
Benedictine University (formerly Illinois Benedictine College) in Lisle will be closed. All Lewis University campuses in the city and suburbs will be closed. The University of St. Francis in Joliet will be closed.
Governors State University in University Park will be closed. Northern Illinois University’s main campus in DeKalb and satellite campuses in Rockford, Hoffman Estates, and Naperville will be closed.
All Robert Morris University campuses will be closed. At Aurora University, employees have to report to work, but no classes will be held.
Elmhurst College and Elmhurst Academy in Elmhurst are both closed. All three campuses of Harper Community College and all three campuses of Joliet Junior College are closed. All five campuses of Waubonsee Community College will be closed.
Northwestern University’s main campus in Evanston will be closed. I have no word about the Chicago campus.
The University of Chicago has cancelled all Monday classes and non-essential activities. However, for the benefit of the resident students, the residence halls and dining halls will be open.
The Archdiocese of Chicago is closing all Catholic elementary schools in Cook and DuPage Counties on Monday. Catholic Charities Child and Early Childcare Centers will be closed in the Archdiocese of Chicago and Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Joliet will be closed as well.
All Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) offices will be closed. All facilities of the Evanston Public Library and Oak Park Public Library will be closed Monday and re-open Tuesday. The Eisenhower Public Library District, which serves Norridge and Hardwood Heights, will keep its library open. The University Park Public Library in University Park will also be open.
The Indian Trails Public Library District will close all its facilities Monday. The Cook Memorial Public Library in Libertyville and the Fountaindale Public Library in Bollingbrook will be closed.
The Naperville Public Library had to close the Nicholas Library in downtown Naperville early on Sunday, but plans to open all three facilities on Monday. The Nicholas Library was supposed to remain open until 9:00 p.m. on Sundays, beginning with Sunday, January 5, 2014, but it was not to be.
The Niles Public Library, the Cicero Public Library, the Brookfield Public Library, the La Grange Public Library, the Lemont Public Library, the Deerfield Public Library, the Northbrook Public Library, the Bartlett Public Library, the Palos Heights Public Library, the Plainfield Public Library, and the Lincolnwood Public Library will be closed. The Prairie Trails Library District in Burbank will be closed, as will the Ela Area Public Library District in Lake Zurich, the Algonquin Public Library in Algonquin, the Round Lake Area Public Library in Round Lake, and the Lake Villa District Library in Lake Villa.
The Fremont Public Library in Mundelein, Illinois will be closed. The Geneva Public Library will be closed. The Grayslake Area Public Library District will close its library in Grayslake, Illinois, as will the Antioch Public Library District in Antioch.
Both of the Oswego Public Library District facilities in Oswego and Montgomery will be closed. The Frankfort Public Library in Frankfort, Illinois will be closed, as will the Johnsburg Public Library in Johnsburg, Illinois and the Harvard Diggins Library in Harvard, Illinois.
The Matteson Public Library will be open, but they plan to open late at 1:00 p.m. At the Morton Grove Public Library, no library services will be available, but the auditorium will be open as a warming shelter from 9:00 a.m. to at least 1:00 p.m. and possibly as late as 5:00 p.m. The Grande Prairie Public Library in Hazel Crest, Illinois will be open.
Lincoln Park Zoo originally planned to end ZooLights on Sunday, January 5, 2014, but due to the expected inclement weather announced that ZooLights would end on Saturday instead. Brookfield Zoo, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science & Industry (MSI) will be closed Monday. [The DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville will also be closed.] The Field Museum will remain open Monday.
Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium officials plan to re-open Tuesday. However, Shedd Aquarium officials are prepared to re-evaluate this decision. Check their Web site before trying to visit Tuesday. Officials at MSI will decide Monday afternoon if they will re-open Tuesday.
Kerry Lester and Tammy Webber of the Associated Press (AP) reported that Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has upgraded the emergency travel level to red, meaning that only emergency responders can use the roads unless one is having an emergency (i.e., driving to the hospital) or seeking shelter. On the Web site for Indianapolis and Marion County, I noticed officials are asking people who have to use the warming shelters to bring “bedding, canned and dry food, including can openers, drinking water cups or water bottles and prescription medication” because the facilities are not “fully provisioned.”