Top of Page
Main

COVID-19 Testing

Helping families and staff access COVID-19 testing is critical to keeping our community healthy and safe. Use this page to find testing options available to you and to learn about how students and staff are tested at schools.

Helping families and staff access COVID-19 testing is critical to keeping our community healthy and safe. Generally, COVID-19 testing strategies fall into three categories:

  1. Symptomatic Testing: Testing those experiencing COVID-like symptoms
  2. Quarantine Testing: Testing of those who are a close contact of a person with COVID-19
  3. Asymptomatic Testing: Testing a population of asymptomatic individuals including staff, students, and student-athletes

CPS will manage a voluntary, free, school-based asymptomatic screening testing program for employees and students regardless of vaccination status. Additional information is also provided below with resources to support families and staff requiring symptomatic or quarantine testing.

As a general precaution, employees or students who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or unvaccinated people who have been in close contact with a COVID-positive person should stay home, and contact their healthcare provider for further guidance. People who test positive should report this to district at cps.edu/COVIDresults

Please note: Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, either through the CPS testing program or an outside test, should not test again for 90 days after the date of the initial positive test. A negative test is not required to return to school after isolation or quarantine.

Asymptomatic Screening Testing

Screening testing allows public health officials to measure and monitor COVID-19 prevalence among asymptomatic people in a community over time. The district will be using PCR testing for both students and staff.

Who will be tested?

All students are eligible to be tested with parent consent.

Where will testing occur?

CPS will offer testing on-site at schools during the school day on a weekly basis.

When will testing occur?

School leaders will receive their school’s schedule in advance of the first day of testing and notify the appropriate staff and students. School leaders will help assign temporary supervision while testing occurs for CPS staff who are responsible for students during their school’s testing time. The intake and testing process takes approximately five minutes per person.

What can you expect on your designated testing day?

On the day of testing, the student or staff member will be notified when they should come to the testing location. A one time online consent process is available to both parents and staff  before the testing date. Only those with consent on file will be tested.  Next, a testing team member will guide them through a self-administered nasal swab test. The student or staff member will hand the swab to the testing personnel and return back to class or work. Students and staff do not need to stay home while waiting on this test result because they are well. In 24-72 hours, results will be emailed to staff and students with the following possible outcomes:

  1. Negative: The student or staff member continues to be present in school.
  2. Positive: The student or staff member will be considered a confirmed positive case and the district will begin contact tracing. The individual must isolate for 5days from the initial testing date. Close contacts who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines will be notified that they must quarantine for 5 days from the initial testing date before returning to school. Families will be provided resources to schedule a COVID-19 test five days after potential exposure. Students will be expected to engage in virtual learning for the duration of their quarantine period, unless they are ill.

Symptomatic Quarantine Testing

If you or your child needs to access a COVID-19 test because of symptoms or being in close proximity to a COVID-positive individual, please review the options below. Additionally you can view a list of pediatric testing sites.

Please note:

  • Positive at-home tests must be reported at cps.edu/covidresults
  • Negative at-home tests do not meet the criteria to exempt or shorten quarantine for close contacts, release someone from isolation, clear individuals who are experiencing Covid-like symptoms, or to enter or return to the U.S. from an international location.
  • Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 should not retest within 90 days. A negative test is not required to return to school/work.  It is possible to continue to test positive even though you are no longer infectious.

Testing Options

Private, Employer, or CPS-provided Insurance:  

Contact your primary health care provider; some insurance plans require the provider to order and schedule a COVID-19 test.

Contact your insurance plan provider to find out what types of tests are covered and at what locations. In certain plans, transportation costs relating to treatment can be covered by the provider.

Medicaid:

Contact your primary health care provider. Some insurance plans require COVID-19 tests to be ordered and scheduled by them. 

Contact your managed care provider to find out what types of tests are covered and at what locations. In certain plans, transportation costs relating to treatment can be covered by the provider. Contact information for common providers can be found below.

  • Blue Cross Community Health Plans: (1-877-860-2837)
  • CountyCare Health Plan: (1-312-864-8200)
  • Aetna Better Health: (1-866-329-4701)
    Meridian Health: (1-866-606-3700) 
  • Molina HealthCare: (1-855-687-7861)

If you are a CPS family and have questions about your insurance plan, please contact the Office of Student Health & Wellness at 773-553-KIDS (5437).

I Do Not Have Insurance:

If you do not have insurance and need help accessing public health benefits, please contact the Office of Student Health & Wellness at 773-553-KIDS (5437) or fill out an assistance request at cps.edu/health.

If an individual is experiencing COVID-like symptoms, what type of COVID-19 test is acceptable?

Students and staff should use viral tests. A viral test includes rapid and laboratory tests. Rapid tests can be completed quickly and can include antigen or NAATs. 

Laboratory tests can take days to complete and include RT-PCR or other types of NAATs. Antibody (blood) tests are not accepted because it will not diagnose current infection.

Pediatric COVID-19 Testing Sites

We are identifying pediatric COVID-19 testing sites in the Chicago area to help families and schools connect symptomatic students to health services.

LEARN MORE