Updated Guidance — March 14, 2022
Moving to a Mask-Optional Model
Beginning this Monday, March 14, all CPS schools will move to a mask-optional model. While CPS will continue to encourage the use of masks, families and employees will now have a choice about whether or not to wear a mask at school, outside on school property, on a school bus, or in the office.
This model has been deemed safe by federal, state, and local public health authorities for areas where community transmission of COVID-19 is low, like Chicago.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CPS has developed a comprehensive plan that includes safety protocols, procedures, and guidance to keep families, staff, and school communities safe from COVID-19. This section is designed to provide parents with the latest guidance
Key Safety Measures
Learn about the key safety measures that the District has put in place to keep school communities safe from COVID-19.
CPS encourages the use of masks at school, outside on school property, and on school buses. Students and staff can request a mask from their school.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the District conducts weekly COVID-19 testing at all schools. To sign up for weekly testing or view the testing schedule, visit color.com/readycheckgo-cps.
To help reduce the transmission of COVID-19, CPS has dedicated contact tracers on staff to investigate COVID-19 cases and notify close contacts. CPS works in coordination with CDPH to ensure that those identified as close contacts also have rapid contact tracing and are connected to city resources such as monitoring and testing.
HEPA Filters and Air Quality Assessments
Through an $8.5 million investment by the District, every classroom and front office is receiving its own HEPA purifier, which filters over 99.99% of airborne viruses, bacteria, and mold. And to ensure buildings are properly ventilated, the district conducted multi-stage ventilation and air quality assessments, which inspected every room and utilized state-certified environmental specialists. Those reports can be found at cps.edu/airquality. The district has also spent $70 million on mechanical upgrades.
To ensure comprehensive cleaning protocols are completed every day, the District has hired additional custodians.
Sanitizer and Soap
The District invested over $3.5 million to secure over 50,000 hand sanitizer dispensers in all high-traffic areas and soap dispensers to support regular hand washing and sanitizing.
The District has allocated over $2.94 million to purchase 92,667 containers of EPA approved disinfectant wipes for classrooms, offices and other high-touch areas.
Hospital-Grade Disinfectant Sprayers
Every CPS school has a hospital-grade mister spray unit that will evenly apply EPA-approved disinfectant for maximum disinfection.
CPS adopted consistent procedures and community notification protocols developed by CDPH to respond to any confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Plexiglass Dividers and Signage
All schools installed plexiglass dividers and other physical barriers to protect staff when visitors arrive, and posted signage throughout school facilities to emphasize new policies and procedures.
Best Practices to Prevent COVID
These are some best practices to follow to reduce your chance of catching COVID-19.
Wash hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer gel
Catch coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues
Throw away used tissues (then wash hands)
If you don't have a tissue, use your sleeve
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Stay home if you are feeling sick