(CBS) — Four hundred thousand Chicago Public Schools students head back to class on Tuesday. This year, there are some big changes that could impact their safety and health.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.
Jasmine Cole is taking charge, making sure her family members are ready to get back to class.
One of them, her younger brother, will make the three-block walk to Penn Elementary School in Lawndale. And this year, that walk will include a Safe Passage route. Penn is one of 13 CPS schools adding that option.
CPS officials believe safe passage is working, pointing out that no students were harmed to or from school on any of the Safe Passage routes last year.
That’s not the only change.
If they choose, any CPS student will be able to eat a school lunch for free. It’s part of an expanded, federally funded program that will reimburse CPS for every lunch taken.
Over the weekend, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett used social media and robocalls to spread the back-to-school message, encouraging everyone to start the year in class and on time.
Meanwhile, the CTA is offering free rides for students on Tuesday.
Students can also buy a discounted fare for 75 cents throughout the school year to ride weekdays between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Last year, the free rides program provided more than 147,000 free rides to students, according to the CTA.