Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools to Unveil New COVID Quarantine Guidelines, CEO Says

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Chicago Public Schools is expected to announce new quarantine guidance for schools Tuesday.

The district's CEO Pedro Martinez said during an event Monday that he plans to unveil a new quarantine protocol as CPS reports thousands of students currently in quarantine.

Martinez said he met with Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady to discuss a plan for students. He is expected to speak about the new plan later Tuesday afternoon.

The district currently has several thousand students not in school due to positive COVID cases or because they had close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

As of Sunday, CPS reported 6,391students in quarantine or isolation and 1,164 confirmed COVID cases. Parents have been waiting for more guidance from the district when it comes to quarantine protocol in schools. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said “over-quarantining“ can create chaos and called for a clear protocol to help families navigate school in the pandemic.

Parents have recently called for additional guidance, particularly in wake of the death of a Jensen Elementary student's mother, who recently passed away from pneumonia caused by COVID-19.

Shenitha Curry's cause of death was ruled as pneumonia due to COVID-19 infection with diabetes and hypertension as contributing factors.

Curry, 44, was one of two Jensen Elementary parents who were believed to have died from complications related to COVID-19.

Jasmya Johnson, Curry’s sister, believes that Curry contracted the virus from her daughter, who attends the school. According to WBEZ, Curry and her three children all contracted the virus.

Parents and teachers voiced concerns about district safety measures following her death.

“If the protocol was in place, she would still be alive,” Johnson said. “My niece brought it home. They sent my sister an email saying someone in school had COVID, so they had to quarantine her class.”

In a statement, CPS said that the Chicago Department of Public Health is reviewing the situation.

"CDPH continues to review the situation but at this time, and based on the information available including timing of symptoms, test dates, and known out-of-school exposures, there is no evidence of in-school-transmission of COVID-19 to students at Jensen Elementary," the district said earlier this week. "We are heartbroken by the ongoing devastating impacts of COVID-19 on our community, and we hear the fear and anxiety our families feel with the uncertainty of this virus."

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