The Chicago Public Schools will distribute about 150,000 take-home COVID-19 test kits Friday to 309 schools in communities hit hard by the pandemic, the district announced.
“In Chicago, we are in a wicked post-Thanksgiving COVID surge — 929 daily cases on average here in the city of Chicago. As the city goes, so goes CPS,” Dr. Kenneth Fox, CPS’ chief health officer, said at Wednesday’s monthly Chicago Board of Education meeting. “When cases surge in the city, so, too, do they surge at CPS.”
The district reported its highest weekly COVID-19 case count last week: 764 students and 246 adults. The district also reported its highest daily case count on Monday: 223 students and 59 adults. Last month CPS was recording about 300 to 400 total cases a week, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The schools picked to receive the in neighborhoods designated high risk for COVID-19 or are elementary schools in neighborhoods deemed medium risk, officials said. Families who receive the kits are encouraged to test students Dec. 28 to allow enough time to get results before students return from winter break Jan. 3. Students who test positive would be directed to isolate for 10 days from the testing date.
“I ask parents, I plead with parents: Please take advantage of this if your school is in one of these communities,” CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said. “Take advantage of this test, especially with all the gatherings" during the holidays.