Chicago Public Schools to require masks, enforce 3-foot social distancing

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools announced Thursday that masks will be worn by everyone when schools return to in-person learning on August 30.

CPS said masks or cloth face coverings must be worn by students, teachers, support staff and all visitors, regardless of vaccination status. They may be removed for outdoor activities, such as recess and some sports activities.

CPS also said they will enforce social distancing of at least 3 feet and daily meals will be eaten by some in classrooms and others in the cafeteria. Students will be allowed to remove their masks while eating.

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady tweeted her full support for the plan, saying it's the safest way to get students back in the classroom.

On Monday the American Academy of Pediatrics released guidance recommending all students wear masks regardless of vaccination status, going a step further than the CDC's recommendations.

School districts across Illinois have been faced with the mask debate. Some west suburban districts decided to keep masks optional. CPS said its decision was made with close consultation with the Chicago Department of Public Health.

"We are encouraging really making sure that we're doing everything we can first and foremost to have parents and guardians feel comfortable about having their children back in school in person," Arwady said.

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The Chicago Teacher's Union supported the decision, saying in part, "If both the science and the directives state that layered mitigation will keep school communities more safe, then this is what the district must do to keep children 12 and under, and their families, safe."

Parents and guardians are also reminded they have until this Monday, July 26, to get your kids aged 12 and older shots to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the first day of school.

Read CPS' full letter explaining COVID-19 safety protocols for the 2021-2022 school year below:

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