Even as this school year winds down, our commitment to keeping all students and staff healthy and safe is as strong as it was on the first day of school. Equally important is our promise to keep families updated when things change around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to a rise in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks, the City of Chicago has now moved from a “low-risk” to a “medium-risk” category. This is not the news we had hoped for, but one positive to remember is that even though cases are going up, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 remain low.
As we have done since the start of the pandemic, CPS will continue to follow the recommendations of our partners at the Chicago Department of Public Health when making decisions about how this change could impact our schools. Here is what you need to know for now:
- Masks. Our school will continue strongly encouraging the use of masks, especially among our unvaccinated students, and especially when cases are rising. The District has plenty of high-quality KN95 masks, and we will continue providing them to anyone in our school community who need them.
- Learning and Working at Home. CPS will maintain the policy that all students and staff who are not yet fully vaccinated and who are exposed to COVID-19 must learn or work at home for five days, and then must wear a mask when they return to school on days 6 through 10.
- Contact Tracing. We have increased our contact tracing capacity in the past several months and will continue to closely monitor all cases of COVID-19 among our students and staff.
Slowing the Spread through Vaccination
Vaccines are the safest, most effective tool we have to slow the spread of COVID-19 and return our community to a low-risk category, so I strongly encourage all students and families who are not yet fully vaccinated to take this step as soon as possible. Anyone age 5 and up is eligible to receive a vaccine.
If you have been vaccinated and are eligible for a booster, please make an appointment today to increase your protection against COVID-19. Anyone over 12 years of age should get a booster shot five months after their second Pfizer or Moderna shot, or two months after their Johnson and Johnson shot. Anyone over the age of 50 and anyone who is moderately or severely immunocompromised who has already received a booster shot should get a second booster four months after the initial booster.
You can visit this guide from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for more information on boosters. And to make an appointment at one of the upcoming vaccine events being offered by CPS, please visit cps.edu/vaccinations. You can also visit vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find an appointment. To request in-home vaccination, which is available to all Chicago households, call the City’s COVID-19 hotline at (312) 746-4835. Up to 10 people can be vaccinated at a time, so you can invite family, friends, or neighbors to your home to be vaccinated together.
Sign Students Up for In-School Testing
Testing our students regularly for COVID-19 is a key part of our strategy for detecting and limiting the spread of the virus in our schools. So if you have not done so already, please visit color.com/readycheckgo-cps to register your children for our free, in-school testing program.
We want our students to finish this school year strong and will continue doing everything possible to provide them with the safe, in-person learning environment they need and deserve. You can do your part by carefully monitoring your family’s health, by ensuring that everyone in your household who is eligible receives their COVID vaccines and boosters, and by signing your children up for regular COVID-19 testing in school.
I thank you for your support, patience, and partnership, and promise to continue to update you when there is new information to share.