Chicago Public Schools will close its schools next Friday to mark “Vaccination Awareness Day,” giving students and parents the opportunity to receive coronavirus vaccinations.
The move was made after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11.
“To ensure all eligible students have the opportunity to receive the vaccine as quickly as possible, CPS schools will be closed on Friday, Nov. 12, for Vaccination Awareness Day,” CPS said in a statement.
Faculty and staff will be given paid days off, according to officials.
According to officials, four different CPS schools will host regional vaccination clinics on that day, including Michelle Clark Magnet High School, Chicago Vocational High School, Theodore Roosevelt High School and Richards Career Academy High School.
Select children’s hospitals in the city will host pediatric vaccine events, according to CPS, and local pharmacies will continue to offer vaccine appointments.
The district has set up a website to allow parents and students to sign up for vaccine appointments. Both students and parents will be able to set up appointments at CPS-run regional clinics.
Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey praised the move, but says that CPS will need to continue to step up efforts to keep parents, teachers and students safe.
“We cannot stop here. Our students are crying out for support in every way possible,” Sharkey said in a statement. “Let’s make sure we continue to push CPS in the right direction in providing robust outreach, school-based vaccinations during flexible hours, and collaboration with families on engagement and incentives.”