Chicago Public Schools officials hope parents will take advantage of classes being canceled for Vaccination Awareness Day on Friday to get their kids the COVID-19 shot.
“While I trust the vaccination for my daughter and I'm grateful that its available now for ages five and up, I know other parents aren't necessarily going to vaccinate their kids," said CPS parent Catherine Mach.
Mach has three daughters who go to CPS schools. She told NBC 5 she had plans to take her youngest daughter to get the shot last week, but the first grader tested positive for COVID.
“Thankfully, she’s been an asymptotic case,” Mach said. “I’m very grateful because it could be a lot worse."
While she’s frustrated with the district’s quarantine and testing policy, saying there was a delay in notification, she said she’s glad CPS is giving students the time off to get vaccinated.
“I’m really pleased with that because it gives everybody a chance to get vaccines and there are plenty of clinics available,” Mach said.
The district said in addition to private healthcare providers and pharmacies, anyone over the age of five can get the shot at seven CPS schools and six community clinics.
The Chicago Teachers Union is also hosting its own vaccination event Friday afternoon at CTU headquarters. So far, more than 200 slots have been registered.
Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle Walensky weighed in on the vaccination efforts across the country.
“I would say as our children are starting to get vaccinated just a week into this program, to continue to scale up our vaccinations for these children and to not yet get complacent with our mitigation and prevention strategies that are keeping our children in school,” said Walensky.
CPS has an enrollment of an estimated 341,000 students. The latest numbers from CPS show around 2,200 students have COVID and 5,000 students remain in isolation or quarantine as of this week.
“Please consider vaccinating your child. Please do it for everybody’s safety, including your children and including the adults surrounding your children,” said Mach.
The district said kids ages 5 to 11 will be eligible for a $100 Visa gift card if they get the two-dose vaccine. City employees will also get two hours of paid leave Friday if they get the shot for themselves or their families.