New Chicago Public Schools CEO, Chicago's top doctor address COVID safety protocols

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's new CEO of public schools, as well as Chicago's top doctor, addressed concerns about COVID safety measures.

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez joined the city's public health commissioner Thursday morning to highlight new COVID-19 responses.

As he starts this high-profile, high-pressure job, Martinez said he's looking at COVID within the district.

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They outlined a plan aimed at improving ways to test for COVID in schools, including weekly COVID testing every single week at all schools beginning Friday.

"That's not testing for, if I have symptoms I want to come in and get a test," said CDPH commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. "That is testing of people who are in school with no sense that they have COVID, they do not have symptoms."

The plan only applies to students with signed consent forms from parents.

The city also talked about "new communication tools."
Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed her disappointment in CPS' COVID testing program, saying it was not effective enough.

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CPS data shows over 1,000 students have tested positive for the virus since the start of the school year a month ago, and over 300 staff members also tested positive. So far, 15,000 have had to go into quarantine because of possible close contact.

Martinez promised more transparency in regards to updating case numbers online.

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The Chicago Teachers Union has been sounding the alarm about COVID safety in schools, citing overcrowding, lack of testing, and poor communication. They also have issues with the data CPS is presenting.

"I find it difficult to understand how the numbers are low and there's no testing," said CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates. "It sounds contradictory."
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