Some Chicago Public Schools students face CPS quarantine after Labor Day weekend travel

25% of staff receives COVID-19 test each week; kids must complete CPS health screener, as well

ByMichelle Gallardo and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Some CPS students face quarantine after Labor Day weekend
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Some Chicago Public Schools students face quarantine after traveling over Labor Day weekend.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- CPS students return from the long holiday weekend Tuesday, and there are special instructions for unvaccinated students who traveled out of the state.

Unvaccinated students who traveled to a state on Chicago's travel advisory list, which is every state except for Vermont, should not return to class just yet.

Instead, they must quarantine for seven days if they test negative for COVID, or 10 days if they don't get a test.

SEE MORE: CPS: Unvaccinated students who travel out of state over Labor Day must quarantine

Julie Weber and her two children, Amilia and Joseph, just got back from a camping trip in Michigan. They left the city before the new guidelines were issued.

"We were on vacation so I didn't check my email," Weber said. "I didn't even think to check my email. And then we got to school his morning and my kids were told they weren't allowed to enter the building."

The new instructions were issued after CDPH released its latest travel advisory, which includes the entire country except Vermont as do not travel areas for anyone unvaccinated. Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady repeated that recommendation again today.

"For people who are unvaccinated, travel is just risky right now," she said. "Here in Chicago we're averaging 18 cases per 100,000 a day, but if you look across the country it's more like 30 to 40 per 100,000 a day, so literally twice as bad."

CPS said those absences will be marked as excused. A spokesperson acknowledged they will rely on parents to self-report.

Starting on their second day of quarantine, impacted students will get access to take-home schoolwork, but they will not have access to remote learning if they are in quarantine because of travel. Students who are quarantining because of a potential exposure will be able to join full remote learning.

RELATED: Chicago Travel Advisory updated with all states except Vermont on list

"The district has put in place an attestation process for families to acknowledge they are being vigilant regarding health protocols in order to keep their child and schools safe. At the end of the day, our trust lies with our families who we know care deeply about keeping schools safe," the district said in a statement.

"I would be heartbroken if it was my child who brought COVID in. But there was nothing set up. They were like, OK go home. My kids are missing out on a whole week's worth of instruction, there's no plan," Weber said. "We are going to have a couple of worksheets to do. And it's the beginning of school."

CPS has reported at least 39 students testing positive so far in the first week of school.

Many students are also having to quarantine because they're considered a close contact to someone who tested positive, meaning they were within 6 feet of each other for 15 minutes.

Just one week into the new school year, at least 147 CPS students have been exposed and are in quarantine.

The district is also testing 25% of its staff each week, and all staff will be offered a test at least once a month.

As the delta variant surges, the district hopes all of these precautions help limit the spread of the virus, but it's also encouraging all eligible students to get vaccinated.

A number of vaccine clinics will be held Tuesday, including one at Bogan High School on 70th Street and Pulaski Road.