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Dear CPS Families and Staff,


We hope that you all had a safe, healthy, and enjoyable winter break and that everyone is ready for a strong start to the new semester.

Below are some tips to help keep everyone healthy and safe as we prepare for a return to school this Monday, January 9.


Test for COVID-19

As we have seen in years past, COVID-19 spreads more rapidly when students and staff are gathering outside of the classroom on school breaks. This often leads to higher cases in our school communities when students and staff return. 

Before returning to class on Monday, we highly encourage everyone to test for COVID-19. You can use the rapid at-home COVID-19 tests that were made available at every CPS school prior to Winter Break. If you did not obtain a test from your school, tests are available for free at any Chicago Public Library. Click here to find your local branch and please call ahead to ensure availability of tests. You can also get tests at many medical providers, pharmacies, grocery stores, and other locations. You can also request free rapid at-home COVID tests online at covid.gov/tests; however, these tests may not arrive in time to test before returning to school.

To sign up for free, weekly in-school COVID-19 testing, please visit color.com/readycheckgo-cps.


Stay Home If You Feel Sick or Test Positive

If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, please report the positive test here and please follow the guidance here. For those who test positive: isolate at home for five days, or if symptoms persist after five days, continue to isolate at home until symptoms resolve. Upon returning to school, wear a mask until ten days after symptom onset or ten days after the positive test if asymptomatic.

If you feel ill, please stay home, test for COVID-19 and contact your medical provider for additional testing and treatment if necessary.


Mask Up

To prevent the spread of COVID, flu, RSV, and other airborne illnesses, CPS strongly recommends that students and staff wear a mask in school, especially when returning to school after breaks. Masks are available upon request at any CPS school.


Get Vaccinated

Getting vaccinated is the absolute best way to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19. Vaccines are safe, free, and widely available across Chicago for everyone ages 6 months and up. For those who have already had their initial vaccine series, an updated booster shot which offers increased protection is now available for everyone ages 6 months and older. Please visit cps.edu/vaccinations to get more information and make an appointment.

In addition to getting vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, do not forget to get your annual flu shot. CPS is offering flu shots alongside COVID vaccines at our four permanent regional clinics and both our elementary and high school mobile programs. For additional opportunities to get a flu shot, visit this page.


Post-Infection Treatment

If you test positive for COVID-19, there is a post-infection oral treatment available called Paxlovid. This can be especially helpful for our older parents, guardians, and staff members, and those with underlying health conditions. This treatment, when taken within the first few days of infection, can mitigate the worst impacts of COVID-19. If you test positive and fall into one of these categories, please ask your medical provider about this treatment.

The health and safety of our students and staff is the District’s top priority, and CPS will continue taking all necessary steps to safeguard our school communities against COVID, the flu, and other illnesses as we begin the new year. We thank you for being our partners in this helping keep our school communities healthy and safe, and we look forward to seeing everyone back in school on Monday, January 9.


-Chicago Public Schools