Chicago Public Schools families now have until Thursday to return district-issued COVID-19 tests for students, the district has announced.
The tests — sent to about 150,000 students in neighborhoods hard hit by the pandemic and with low vaccination rates — were originally supposed to be returned Dec. 28. But the deadline was extended after photos were posted online of returned tests piling up outside FedEx drop-off boxes. On its website, the Chicago Teachers Union called the pile-up a “bureaucratic failure and chaos.”
“We are encouraged by the number of families who have submitted test kits so far. We are working with all partners to ensure a timely pick up of test kits at FedEx and libraries,” CPS said in a statement Wednesday.
The district said it has recently added an additional library drop-off location: Garfield Ridge Branch, 6348 S. Archer Ave.
Many issues for parents and families returning their FedEx kits today. And this isn’t on FedEx or Walgreen’s employees for not being prepared. They were unprepared because this plan by the mayor and CPS was not well-thought-out, and no one prepared them. pic.twitter.com/pLU9WeEhho— ChicagoTeachersUnion (@CTULocal1) December 28, 2021
During the winter break, the district has been sending messages to parents urging them to get their children tested before school resumes Jan. 3. The messages come as the city and state are dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“The best form of protection from COVID is being vaccinated,” the CPS statement said. “More than 90% of our staff are now vaccinated, and we continue to push the importance of vaccines within our school communities.
“Students aged 5 and up are eligible to get vaccinated and the vaccine continues to be free and widely available. ... We expect a higher-than-normal number of classrooms to convert to remote learning during this Omicron-driven surge, but we know that we can both protect our children and staff when we all work together.”