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New Chicago Public Schools CEO Explains COVID-19 Safety Efforts


Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) updated their COVID-19 response efforts on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Commissioner of the CPDH, Dr. Allison Arwady, declared a number of new steps aimed to strengthen the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the responses the city has taken was to launch a newly restructured pandemic Dashboard and a webpage designed to give people access to vital resources. The Dashboard will provide citizens with all reported COVID-19 cases among Chicago Public Schools students and staff — within 24 hours of them being reported.

Chicago Public Schools Dashboard Update

These updates will include all positive coronavirus results found through the district’s screening testing program and self-reports. Trying to scale up its efforts; The school district also declared that it is in the process of doubling the number of contact tracers.

They also reported that they have met their goal of establishing the opt-in coronavirus screening testing program in all schools by the end of the month.

The new CPS DIstrict CEO, Pedro Martinez, expressed that “The health and safety of our CPS family is my top priority.” He added that their “goal is to make sure our school community members are promptly informed of positive cases and know what next steps they need to take.”

They are hoping the new steps they announced: “will help further improve transparency and the lines of communication so that we can all move forward with confidence in the 2021-2022 school year and beyond.”

The school district has seen almost 900 COVID-19 cases among its students and staff members over the past month — 200 employees and almost 700 educatees.

Who Is Eligible for a Vaccine

Image by Erick Kaglan / World Bank (Flickr CC0)

Everyone 12 years and older is eligible to receive a vaccination in Chicago — and the United States. Community members, parents, and students can receive their vaccination in a variety of ways. For instance, they can attend community events, schedule an appointment with a vaccine provider, or at a school-based location.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other health experts have all agreed that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe. They further announced that these vaccines are an effective way to combat the pandemic by protecting oneself and the community.

COVID-19 vaccines teach the immune system to recognize and fight the virus that causes coronavirus. These vaccines have been shown to be effective at preventing severe illness and even death from the virus.

Present Vaccine Rates at CPS

This is why all CPS employees are required to be vaccinated by October 15. Those who have certain medical conditions documented by a healthcare provider or have certain religious beliefs will be exempt from needing a vaccine.

Anyone who does not meet these requirements will be ineligible to work until proof is provided. Being fully vaccinated is defined as being at least two weeks after receiving the one-shot vaccination or at least two weeks after the second dose of the two-shot vaccine.

Currently, 73.1 percent of all CPS staff members are fully vaccinated. The Dashboard says that they have 0.3 percent who are medically exempt and 1.4 percent who are religiously exempt. Presently, 25.1 percent of CPS employees have an unknown status.

Written by Sheena Robertson


Chicago Public Schools: COVID-19 Vaccination

WGN 9 News: New Chicago Public Schools CEO addresses COVID-19 safety efforts

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Eric Allix Rogers’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset Image by Erick Kaglan/ World Bank Courtesy of World Bank Photo Collection’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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Cathrine Osborne, DM

Infectious Disease Physician

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