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CPS to Launch School-Based Vaccination Sites Next Week

12 February 2021

CPS Will Offer 1,500 Vaccinations Reserved for CPS Employees Each Week at School-Based Sites Across the City; District Also Releases Additional Details on Testing Strategy; All Schools Offered Weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Testing, with All Staff Members Offered Weekly Testing in Communities with Highest Case Counts 

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Website: www.cps.edu
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today that four school-based vaccination sites for CPS staff will launch next week. These four school-based sites will offer a total of 1,500 first-dose vaccinations each week and are solely dedicated for CPS staff. The launch of CPS vaccination sites follows the district offering 2,000 expedited vaccinations earlier this week for pre-k, cluster staff, and those who could not be granted an accommodation who live with vulnerable family members, as part of its agreement with the CTU and overall strategy to vaccinate thousands of eligible staff and educators. The district also released additional details today on its strengthened surveillance testing program, which includes increased testing in communities with the highest number of cases, regular testing for students, and details on test administration.  

"As we work to restore our children's access to high-quality, in-person instruction, ensuring the safety of our entire school community will always remain our top priority," said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "The launch of these vaccination sites and the expansion of this surveillance testing program are core measures that only strengthen our already-robust safety strategy. These efforts, taken together, will provide families and CPS staff with the certainty they deserve about returning to in-person instruction and further prove just how prepared our schools are to safely welcome our children back into the classroom."

“Widespread vaccination and an expanded surveillance testing program are critical components of our strategy to safely reopen as we phase in tens of thousands of staff and students in the coming weeks,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Through our partnership with CDPH and healthcare partners, we have already offered vaccination opportunities to more than 7,500 of our school-based staff members and will be offering thousands more over the coming weeks. We are thrilled to welcome more of our students back to the classroom with strong measures that build confidence in our mitigation efforts and provide students with a high-quality in-person learning experience.” 

Starting next week, CDPH will distribute 1,500 doses per week of vaccine to CPS to administer through school-based sites for CPS employees. Prior to the site launch, CPS has provided vaccination opportunities to more than 7,500 CPS staff members through partnerships with several healthcare organizations and through expedited vaccination opportunities through a partnership with Walgreens and CDPH, which offered 2,000 vaccination opportunities for pre-k and cluster staff, and staff who have medically vulnerable household members and do not have an accommodation to work remotely as part of the district’s agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). 

“Vaccination and expanded testing are important parts of the overall strategy to keep schools safe for our students, staff and school communities,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “With other mitigation efforts such as masking, social distancing and cleaning protocols, other school districts have shown in-person learning can be done safely and that schools are not a source of COVID spread.”  

Launching Standing CPS Vaccination Sites for Employees

Through CDPH’s vaccine plan, CDPH is providing CPS with 1,500 first doses of vaccine per week. The district developed a prioritization plan to offer vaccination opportunities, based on the time employee groups have spent working in school buildings during the closure and proximity to other employees. 

Beginning next week, CPS will be launching four vaccination sites across the city that will be open only to CPS employees, with hours of operation that are accommodating to the work schedules of employees to minimize learning and work disruptions. To ensure staff are able to be vaccinated as quickly as possible, employees will be excused from work duties during their vaccination appointment.

The district will notify employees when appointments are available to them based on the equity-based priority list established by the district. If an employee misses their initial opportunity to sign up, the district will provide an additional offer at a later date.

CPS' Vaccination Prioritization Strategy

Groups are prioritized for vaccination based on the amount of time these roles have been coming to school in person and their level of exposure to other people. Staff who are 65 or older or have a high-risk medical condition as defined by the CDC will be given priority within their subgroups. ADA or caretaker accommodations will not impact placement in priority groups.

This prioritization may change based on vaccine availability and other factors.

*Note: This chart does not include CPS employees who are eligible under 1a. The district recently launched partnerships to provide approximately 1,500 staff who serve in healthcare roles who are eligible under phase 1a to receive vaccination. Through these partnerships, there are enough vaccine doses for all eligible 1a CPS employees.

Group 1 Subgroup 1.1 Subgroup 1.2
High exposure: Individuals whose job responsibilities require them to work in close physical proximity with others, and oftentimes they cannot practice social distancing as the execution of their job responsibilities.

School-based nutrition staff

School-based security staff

School leaders

Care room attendants

Clerks

Bus aides

Cluster program teachers and paraprofessionals

Pre-K teachers and paraprofessionals

SECAs

Technology coordinators

Group 2

Subgroup 2.1

Subgroup 2.2

Medium exposure: Roles that may require regular interaction with other staff members and students where social distancing may not be possible at all times.

Facilities staff

Other elementary school teachers and paraprofessionals

Other high school teachers and paraprofessionals
Group 3 Subgroup 3.1  
Low exposure: Individuals whose jobs can largely be performed remotely. Central and network office staff  

As of February 11, more than 7,500 staff members have been provided a vaccination opportunity, including all staff in 1a (eligible as a professional who works in a medical field), all CTU pre-k and cluster program staff, all CTU K-8 staff who have medically vulnerable household members and do not have an accommodation to work remotely, all clerks and clerks’ assistants, all school leaders, and all security and nutrition staff over 65 years old.

To facilitate vaccination sites at CPS schools, the district has selected Innovative Care to serve as its healthcare partner. As part of the partnership, Innovative Care will provide the scheduling and patient registration portal, provide medical staff to perform the vaccinations and monitor patients after they receive their shots, perform regulatory compliance and reporting. 

“We are excited to partner with the Board of Education and CPS to make COVID vaccines available to all CPS staff as quickly as possible,” said Rahul Khare, MD, CEO and founder of Innovative Care. “We have vaccinated more than 8,000 patients already, including many area teachers. Innovative Care is committed to helping our community recover from COVID, and vaccines are a large part of that effort.”

When the district was initially implementing its vaccination strategy, it trained CPS nurses to administer vaccinations in the event we were unable to identify a partner. Innovative Care staff administering the vaccine allows CPS nurses to perform their normal duties supporting schools and students.  

A Multi-Faceted Approach: Maximizing Available Partnerships 

While the district will be providing tens of thousands of vaccinations through its school-based sites, the district has also partnered with healthcare agencies to make as many vaccinations available to staff as quickly as possible. The district will publicly report vaccination totals from its four school-based sites on a weekly basis at CPS’ vaccination page  and the district is surveying staff to understand which staff members have received vaccination independently or through health care partnerships. 

Type of Vaccination Opportunity 

Timeline

Vaccines Offered

Total Available Vaccines Offered: 7,528

Vaccination Through Healthcare Partnerships (non-CPS sites)

Launched January 14 — Ongoing 

Available Vaccinations Offered (as of 2/12): 5,528

Vaccinations Provided: Due to HIPPA regulations, healthcare partners are not permitted to provide the district with the names of employees who have completed vaccinations through our partnerships. CPS is administering a survey to determine how many staff members have received vaccination after being presented with an opportunity. 

Expedited vaccination opportunity for pre-k, cluster staff & staff not granted an accommodation who live with a medically-vulnerable family member

Week of February 8 — Completed 

Available Vaccinations Offered (as of 2/11): 2,000

Vaccinations Provided (as of 2/11): 1,754

In order to ensure as many appointments as possible were filled by CPS employees, the district provided the opportunity to get vaccinated on a rolling basis as some individuals cancelled or did show up to the allotted time.The district is also working with Walgreens to make those doses available to CPS staff. 

School-Based CPS Vaccination Sites 

Launching Week of February 15

Available Vaccines to be Offered Per Week: 1,500 

Vaccinations Secured Independently 

All CPS staff eligible beginning January 25 — Ongoing

The district is currently evaluating options for determining how to capture this data. 

Strengthened Testing Strategy 

As part of its agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), the district is increasing  surveillance testing frequency, offering additional testing in communities with the highest COVID-19 rates, and launching surveillance testing for students.

Testing for All Staff at Least Twice per Month: Each week, CPS will offer tests to all schools offering in-person learning and 50 percent of in-person staff members per week. The district will continue to report the results publicly at cps.edu/reopening.

  • Test Equity: To ensure increased testing levels are available for the staff who need it most, the district has prioritized the following three groups of staff for weekly testing:

    • All school-based staff members whose schools are located in one of the 10 zip codes with the highest daily average number of cases; 

    • All staff reporting to schools who live with a medically vulnerable family member; and

    • All principals and assistant principals. 

  • Student Testing: Once a month, COVID-19 surveillance testing will be offered to the following groups of students who have chosen to return for in-person learning:

    • All students over the age of 10 who attend school within the 10 Chicago zip codes with the highest numbers of daily average COVID-19 cases, according to the CDPH COVID-19 Dashboard; and  

    • All high school students in a moderate to severe cluster program.

  • Test Administration: Surveillance testing is conducted by 30-40 staff members who comprise four regional testing teams. Each testing team is made up of a CPS-contracted agency nurse and technician. As the district’s testing program expands, the staffing model will adjust.

To quickly establish a comprehensive testing program, the district partnered with Biodesix, which helped the district develop its testing protocol, trained staff, and supplies and  processes PCR tests. 

“Making highly sensitive COVID-19 testing available to our educators is of critical importance to Biodesix as an essential component of overall public health and safety as our families return to school and work. Our focus on lung disease and the reported devastation to the human lung by COVID-19 compelled us to step up as quickly as possible to help support COVID testing in our own community, as well as across the United States. We are honored to be able to work with the third largest school system in the United States to help ensure the safety of its teachers, staff, and students,” said Scott Hutton, CEO of Biodesix.

Information About Partners: 

Innovative Care

Innovative Care is a group of medical practices in Chicago owned by Dr. Rahul Khare. The medical group offers urgent care ( Innovative Express Care ), primary care ( Innovative Primary Care ), and behavioral health ( Innovative Therapy ) to address patients ongoing health needs. The company also owns three specialized medical clinics ( Innovative MedSpa , Innovative Wellness , Innovative Ketamine ). Innovative Care brings together technology, convenience, and exceptional care. Healthcare Evolved. For more information, visit innovativeexpresscare.com.

Biodesix

Biodesix is a leading diagnostic company with a focus in lung disease. The Company develops diagnostic tests addressing important clinical questions by combining multi-omics through the power of artificial intelligence. Biodesix is the first company to offer six non-invasive tests for patients with diseases of the lung. Biodesix launched the SARS-CoV-2 ddPCR™ test and the Platelia SARS-CoV-2 Total Ab in response to the global pandemic and virus that impacts the lung and causes COVID-19. The blood based Biodesix Lung Reflex® strategy for lung cancer patients integrates the GeneStrat® and VeriStrat® tests to support treatment decisions with results in 72 hours, expediting time to treatment. The blood-based Nodify Lung™ nodule risk assessment testing strategy, consisting of the Nodify XL2® and the Nodify CDT™ tests, evaluates the risk of malignancy in incidental pulmonary nodules, enabling physicians to better triage patients to the most appropriate course of action. Biodesix also collaborates with many of the world’s leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to solve complex diagnostic challenges in lung disease. For more information about Biodesix, visit biodesix.com.

Chicago Public Schools serves 341,000 students in 638 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.