Chicago Public School (CPS) provides updated Jan. 8 statement on testing – The Southland Journal


Chicago Public School (CPS) provides update to Jan. 8 statement on testing (Chicago, Illinois) – CPS has made the health and safety of our students and staff our top priority since the start of the pandemic. Every health and safety measure implemented was in accordance with guidelines from the Chicago Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Public Health, and CDC.

Chicago Public Schools appreciates our state’s support and resources, and we are in active talks with all levels of government to secure additional resources in the fight against COVID-19. We are grateful to learn this evening of a new offer from Governor JB Pritzker to sell 350,000 rapid antigenic tests to CPS and we will finalize the arrangement as soon as possible.

Vaccination Most effective prevention method

Testing is a security measure implemented by CPS, but it is only a measure. There is no medical or scientific evidence to suggest requiring 100% testing, especially with the full suite of safety mitigation measures in place and data on school transmission. Vaccination is the most effective way known to prevent infection and / or significantly prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19.

The CPS receives CDC funding for CDC school-based COVID-19 testing through the Chicago Department of Public Health. CPC issued a request for proposals on June 9, 2021 for COVID-19 testing for teachers, staff and asymptomatic students. As part of the competitive procurement process, the district awarded the contract to Thermo Fisher Scientific. The agreement is posted on the district website; link here.

Constant increase in number

Chicago public schools have steadily increased their weekly on-site visits COVID-19[female[feminine test this school year while openly sharing the challenges of such work in terms of staff and now available test kits. Some numbers :

  • Over 340,000 tests have been completed by the CPS since the start of this school year.

  • This is a consent-required COVID test provided by Thermo Fisher, and it occurs weekly at all of our schools in the district.

  • Just before the winter break, CPS had tested around 30,000 students and staff per week.

  • Thermo Fisher staff members administer the tests.

  • Before the Chicago omicron wave, the performance of this screening test was quite low (less than 1% of those tested were positive as of mid-December 2020).

  • As of January 6, nearly 54,000 (53,681) student voluntary test consents were registered with the district. In other words, the parents of nearly 54,000 students have accepted voluntary testing. CPS has shared frequently and widely that parents can go to color.com/readycheckgo-cps to register their child for tests.

  • Between July 2021 and January 8, 2022, CPS hosted 495 COVID-19 vaccination events for our students, staff and families. More than 10,600 meetings with patients were organized this school year. Families wishing to make an appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or for more information on the vaccine in children and adolescents, please visit cps.edu/vaccinations.

  • For additional context, the district delivered around 20,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine between February and June 2021, mainly to CPS staff. This is part of the reason over 90 percent of CPS staff are fully immunized.

  • More data available on our on our website: https://www.cps.edu/services-and-supports/covid-19-resources/covid-19-readiness-data/

CPS currently in negotiations with CAT

CPS is currently in negotiations with the CTU leadership to strengthen its COVID-19 testing program. We want to make it easier for families to consent to testing, and we want to make more testing available by working through our provider and deploying additional nursing and staff for this effort.

The CPS has taken an aggressive approach to protect children in classrooms and alert families of students considered to be in close contact of a positive COVID case. Our data shows that 96-99% of children identified as close contacts and directed to quarantine did not develop COVID-19. Indeed, all proven mitigation measures in place – universal masking, social distancing, vaccination, hand hygiene, evidence-based protocols for disinfection of contaminated spaces, adequate ventilation, testing and other measures, including screening for contacts. Notably, these extended protective layers are not in place in last-minute, informal and unstable learning and care settings.

CPS does not support deactivation

CPS does not support an withdrawal program as we believe it is essential to obtain explicit parental consent for any medical test, whether we ask children to swab their nostrils or provide a saliva sample.

CPS offers additional testing in certain situations where there are multiple self-reported cases in a school through partnerships with Lurie Children’s Hospital and the University of Chicago. These additional strategically targeted tests are free to the district and are supported by a grant from the Walder Foundation. We entered into a memorandum of understanding with our academic partners in spring 2020, and through this mechanism, CPS has tested hundreds of students since the start of the school year. For example, we performed additional testing on over 150 students at Carnegie Elementary School as additional support during a recent difficult time at the school.

Fund

  • Back in the fall, CPS went through a full process to get more fiscal, operational and awareness support for our immunization program from the state. Although unsuccessful, it would be unfair and misleading to characterize this honest effort as a “refusal” of help.

  • The CPS considered a COVID-19 saliva test, but we felt the nasal swabs were more careful for our situation. The demands of a saliva test make it a more difficult option both for our young students and for students with developmental issues.

  • Many of our students start their school day with a free breakfast. The saliva test requires that children do not eat, drink or have anything in their mouths for an hour before the end of the test to get a valid result – No breakfast, no snack, no toothpaste or mouthwash, no chewing gum, etc. a major constraint, since many children eat their first meal of the day at school.

  • About 91 percent of staff are fully immunized. Just over half of CPS students aged 12 and over are fully immunized, and about a quarter of students aged 5 to 11 have received only one dose.

Chicago Public School (CPS) provides update to Jan. 8 statement on testing

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