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CPS to offer students COVID shots starting next week, will ask their vaccination status next month

CPS said Wednesday that students and their family members ages 12 and up will be able to get shots at three school sites starting Monday.

Christian Clettenberg, 15, receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the Rush University Medical Center in the Illinois Medical District, on May 13, 2021, when children as young as 12 became eligible for shots.
Christian Clettenberg, 15, receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the Rush University Medical Center in the Illinois Medical District, on May 13, 2021, when children as young as 12 became eligible for shots.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools will start vaccinating students for COVID-19 next week — and will ask families to reveal their children’s vaccination status when schools reopen next month.

CPS said Wednesday that students and their family members ages 12 and up will be able to get the two-dose Pfizer vaccine at three school sites starting Monday. The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available for those 18 and older.

The district, however, will not require coronavirus vaccinations to attend school when the academic year starts in late August, officials said.

“While the district is not in a position to mandate COVID-19 vaccination, which is a responsibility that lies with the Illinois Department of Public Health per state law, looking ahead to the fall we will be asking families to submit vaccine information, as we do with other vaccines, such as Measles, Mumps and Rubella,” officials said in a statement.

The CPS sites were previously used to vaccinate staff. No proof of health insurance or citizenship is needed to get a vaccine, but a parent or guardian must accompany anyone under 18. Walk-ins are welcome.

They will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on:

  • Tuesdays at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, 2100 E. 87th St., in Avalon Park;
  • Wednesdays at Theodore Roosevelt High School, 3436 W. Wilson Ave., in Albany Park;
  • and Thursdays at Michele Clark High School, 5101 W. Harrison St. in Austin.

In addition, CPS will provide vaccination opportunities at five Back-to-School Bashes later this summer.

CPS spokeswoman Emily Bolton said the district plans outreach in schools with larger numbers of homeless students.

“A major component of the strategy involves providing mobile units to communities in need, through targeting specific school communities with high STLS [students in temporary living] populations and providing vaccination at community events,” Bolton said. “Essentially, meeting people where they are.”

While officials said the district has been planning to open the sites for several months, the announcement comes shortly after the Chicago Teachers Union submitted a proposal on school reopening to interim CEO José Torres and Mayor Lori Lightfoot Monday evening.

The CTU asked CPS to extend rules mandating masks be worn indoors, safety screenings and social distancing into the fall. The union also asked the district to work with city health officials to vaccinate 80% of eligible students before Oct. 1 through a mix of school-based clinics and coordination of home-based vaccination visits.

CPS said officials look forward to considering CTU’s proposal at the negotiating table.

There is currently no official data on the number of CPS students that have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

To learn more about vaccination opportunities or schedule an appointment for a vaccine, visit http://cps.edu/vaccinations.