Staying Safe This Winter
Updated January 17, 2024
It’s respiratory illness season, which means higher numbers of COVID-19 and flu cases and more hospitalizations related to respiratory illness. As the season for respiratory illnesses continues, students should schedule current COVID-19, flu, and other vaccinations. It’s also extra important to take safety precautions throughout the school year, including getting tested for COVID-19 if you feel sick or if someone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Get Tested for COVID-19 and Stay Home If You Feel Sick: When school is in session, rapid at-home COVID-19 tests are available at any school to any student or staff member at any time. Every U.S. household can also place an order to receive four more free, at-home COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to their home. Visit covid.gov/tests to order these free tests.
Get Your Updated COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines: Vaccines are available to students through CPS’ vaccine events and School-Based Health Centers. Because the District has received a limited supply of the vaccine, CPS is reserving these no-cost vaccines for students who are uninsured, under-insured or get insurance through Medicaid. Visit cps.edu/vaccines for more information and to make an appointment.
- For staff, parents, and guardians who are uninsured, under-insured, or get coverage through Medicaid, we encourage getting a vaccine through a federally-qualified health center, a CDPH Immunization Clinic, or a vaccine event run by the City of Chicago. You can find a list of these local events happening all across the city at chicago.gov/COVIDvax.
- For families and staff who are privately insured, we encourage reaching out to your health care providers or health insurance directly about these vaccines or find a vaccine through vaccines.gov.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Cover your coughs and sneezes using a tissue or your elbow
- If your child is sick, keep them home except to get medical care. Even if your school-aged child appears to have mild symptoms, younger siblings can become very sick from the same virus.
- Maximize indoor ventilation and air circulation by opening windows and hosting activities outdoors whenever possible
- Wear a mask if you develop any symptoms, such as a runny nose, cough, or fever
- Wear a mask when in crowded places and when around individuals who are medically vulnerable.