Happy New Year! I hope that you have been enjoying the winter break, and that your students are excited to return to their classrooms this Monday, January 3.
I understand the stress that many of you are feeling as you try to keep your children safe during this most recent surge of COVID-19, and I want you to know that their health and wellbeing remains a top priority. Research has shown that with the protections we’ve put in place, school is one of the safest places for your children to be. Research has also shown that the most important thing to do for their health and safety is to get children vaccinated.
The vaccine is effective in two crucial ways — it helps to prevent infection and helps prevent severe symptoms if you do contract COVID-19. The rate of hospitalizations for vaccinated Chicagoans remains low, while we are seeing an increase in hospitalizations among the unvaccinated. Visit www.cps.edu/vaccinations to make an appointment or find more information about the COVID-19 vaccine for children and teens.
Please know that while CPS has encouraged COVID testing prior to January 3, students are not required to test before returning to school on Monday. However, if your student is not feeling well on Monday or is showing any symptoms of COVID-19, please keep them at home.
Families with unvaccinated students should also pay careful attention to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) travel advisory guidance. Additionally, students who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should get tested on Day 5 after exposure. Unvaccinated students must stay home and quarantine for 10 days from their last exposure, regardless of negative testing, while vaccinated students may attend school as long as they are not experiencing symptoms.
We know from experience that children do better academically, socially, and emotionally when they're in the classroom versus at home learning on a computer. We also know families do better when they have certainty that their children will be in school instead of having to scramble to find childcare. And we know that remote learning is particularly hard on working families and students that have limited access to the internet. So while we will temporarily transition individual classes to remote learning as needed, there are no plans to transition the entire district to remote learning.
Please visit cps.edu/covidfaq for an FAQ that will help you get your questions answered as you prepare for a safe return to school.
I thank you for your continued partnership and look forward to welcoming your children back to class on Monday, January 3 for a healthy and safe start to 2022.
(Remember school testing happens on Tuesdays. If you have not signed your student up for weekly testing, you can do so at https://home.color.com/covid/sign-up/start?partner=tf-ski-610534-students.)