Chicago Public Schools Releases Coronavirus Plan With Message to Families

CPS also addressed questions about whether the Chicago school district would consider closing schools as coronavirus concerns persist.

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Chicago Public Schools' coronavirus plan, released to parents this week, leads with one overarching message: "If you're sick, stay home."

And if you come to school sick, don't expect to stay for long.

"Students who are sick will be sent home immediately," CPS said in a letter to parents, noting student absences will be marked as excused. "We will contact you to schedule a pick-up."

Any staff or students who traveled within an area of widespread transmission of COVID-19 are asked to stay home for 14 days after returning, and those with respiratory illness symptoms should stay home until the symptoms resolve.

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The school district notes in the letter that it partnered with the Chicago Department of Health to compile guidance for parents and employees "in order to keep our students, staff and our fellow Chicagoans safe."

The guidance warns that new cases of COVID-19 could arise in coming weeks as the coronavirus spreads in the United States. For now, at least, CPS doesn't plan to close schools.

"At this time, the district is not considering closing schools based on the recommendation of local health authorities," CPS noted in the letter.

In the guidelines, the district does ask families and employees to practice good hygiene based on guidelines from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes; avoid close contact with those who are sick; and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.

"According to local health authorities, no special disinfection products or methods are recommended at this time," CPS said. "The district has ordered additional cleaning wipes and sanitizers and will be delivering it to schools as soon as possible, in addition to performing routine cleaning and ensuring schools continue to be stocked with cleaning supplies."

Chicago's Department of Public Health has received nine calls related to the coronavirus since December, Dr. Allison Arwady said Wednesday, and all of those cases were negative.

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