Chicago Public Schools students will have Friday, November 12 off for what the district is calling “vaccination awareness day.” CPS made the decision to cancel classes last week when the COVID-19 vaccine was approved for children 5-11 years old. CPS is encouraging parents to use the day off to get their children vaccinated.
This week Chicago reported 382 new cases. That is a 21% increase compared to last week’s cases. Pedro Martinez, Chief Education Officer, said the rising number of coronavirus cases played a huge part in the district’s decision.
“One of the concerns that I have is that as we saw cases rise, it leads not only to more children having cases but also a significant number of children being quarantined,” said Martinez. He urged families to use the long weekend to get themselves and their children vaccinated.
CPS’s vaccination awareness day comes as Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady expressed concerns over a possible COVID-19 winter surge. “I really don’t want to see families fall into the I’m going to wait and see trap, which I am a little concerned about,” Arwady said.
“We wait a month, we wait two months, we could be in the middle of a larger surge. It’s too late to really be doubling down at that point, though of course, we will do it,” Arwady said.
Arwady said that rising numbers are expected when the weather changes but also noted that unvaccinated children will have a serious impact on schools and urged families to take getting vaccinated seriously.
“If we can get a lot of students vaccinated now, if we can get a lot of adults vaccinated and boosted ahead of the holidays, right now is the time to do that,” said Arwady.
A comprehensive list of CPS vaccination sites can be found here. CPS will hold several vaccination clinics around the city on Friday. Online registration is available for the following sites on the Illinois Department of Health website:
Chavez Elementary School: 10 a.m.-noon
Chicago Vocational Career Academy: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Clark High School: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kenwood High School: 10 a.m.-noon
Mitchell Elementary School: 10 a.m.-noon
Richards High School: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Roosevelt High School: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Chicago Department of Public Health will also host vaccination clinics on Friday. Register online for the following sites at GETVAXCHI.
CareVan Nixon Elementary School: 10 a.m.-noon
Greater Lawn Immunization Clinic: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Uptown Immunization Clinic: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Other sites hosting vaccination clinics are:
Family Vaccine Clinic, Arturo Velasquez Institute: 9 a.m.-noon; Register online or call 773-254-1400
Family Vaccine Clinic, Harmony Community Church: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Register online
Little Black Pop-up at 1060 E. 47th St: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Register online Walk-ins welcome
Paula J. Shelton is a freelance writer and journalist based in Chicago. Find her on social