After Chicago Public Schools reported its highest weekly COVID-19 case count earlier this month, the district announced plans to distribute about 150,000 take-home test kits to schools in communities hit hard by the pandemic.
Kits were distributed Friday, Dec. 17 to a total of 309 schools in areas designated high risk for COVID-19 or elementary schools in neighborhoods deemed medium risk.
Families who received the kits are encouraged to test students by Tuesday to allow enough time to get results before students return from winter break Jan. 3, according to the school district.
Families can drop off test kits at their nearest FedEx Drop Box Tuesday or at the following Chicago Public Library locations between noon and 5 p.m.:
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- Englewood: Kelly Branch, 6151 S. Normal Blvd.
- South Shore: South Shore Branch, 2505 E. 73rd St.
- Auburn Gresham: Thurgood Marshall Branch, 7506 S. Racine Ave.
- Southeast Side: Vodak-East Side Branch, 3710 E. 106th St.
- Austin: Austin Branch, 5615 W. Race Ave.
- Altgeld Gardens: Altgeld Branch, 933 E. 131st Place
In an email to the district community Sunday, CPS encouraged parents to "strongly consider getting your child tested for COVID-19" before school resumes, especially if your family has traveled or your child is feeling sick.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said last week that officials “know that there’s going to be cases rising” over the next few weeks and predicted a “sustained period of time, at least during January, of higher cases.”
The district has also urged its students and parents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and for those eligible to receive their boosters. Those shots remain the best protection against the virus, with boosters in particular offering protection against omicron.
Martinez said shots would bring “stability in our classrooms. Short of that, we’re going to have to take more conservative approaches.”