Safety Guidance and Updates (2023)

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This page contains key information about the District’s safety guidance and protocols to keep families, staff, and school communities safe from COVID-19.

COVID-19 Guidance

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 contains the latest guidance for CPS staff and families.

If you have any of these COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested:

  • Fever 100.4 or higher; chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • New muscle or body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Fatigue

1. Report the positive case to CPS at cps.edu/covidresults. Any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID using a rapid test or a test administered by a health care provider must report the case to CPS. If someone tests positive through CPS’ weekly in-school testing program, the case is automatically reported to CPS. Visit color.com/readycheckgo-cps to sign up for weekly in-school testing.

2. Isolate at home for at least five days. If symptoms persist after five days, continue to isolate at home until symptoms resolve.

3. Return to school after isolation and wear a mask until tendays after symptom onset or ten days after the positive testif asymptomatic.

Downloads

  • What To Do If You Test Positive Flyer [ ENGLISH | SPANISH ]

1. Stay in school, but wear a mask for 10 days.Anyone who is exposed to COVID-19 in school may remain in school regardless of vaccination status, as long as they wear a mask for 10 days.

2. Get tested after exposure. CPS strongly recommends testing for COVID-19 on the Monday and Thursday after exposure; you can get free rapid COVID-19 tests from your school.

3. Test Negative post exposure: Stay in school! If a student or staff member tests negative, they can remain in school wearing a mask for 10 days after their exposure.

4. Test Positive: Isolate at home. If a student or staff member tests positive, they must isolate at home for the next 5 calendar days and self-report the positive result at cps.edu/covidresults.

Downloads

  • What To Do If You Are Exposed To COVID-19 In School [ ENGLISH | SPANISH ]

If a non-CPS student or staff member in the household tests positive for COVID-19, CPS recommends the following:

1. Return to school, but wear a mask for ten days. If the positive individual in the household remains symptomatic for longer than ten days, continue to mask until the household member is no longer symptomatic.

2. Test on the next immediate Monday and the next immediate Thursday after exposure.

3. If you have any of these symptoms of COVID-19, test immediately:

  • Fever 100.4 or higher; chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • New muscle or body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Fatigue

If you test positive, stay home and self report your results to cps.edu/covidresults.

Downloads

  • What To Do If Someone In Your Home Tests Positive For COVID-19 [ ENGLISH | SPANISH ]

If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, you should get tested on the immediate following Monday and the immediate following Thursday. Rapid tests are available through your school.

Testing RecommendationsBased on Exposure Day:
Test 1: Days 1-4 after exposure
Test 2: Days 5-7 after exposure
Tests due before midnight

When was I exposed?Test 1 DueTest 2 Due
Monday - WednesdayThursdayMonday
Thursday - SundayMondayThursday

Downloads

  • When Should I Test For COVID-19? [ ENGLISH | SPANISH ]

Step 1: CPS is notified of a positive case. CPS students and staff who test positive through a rapid at-home test or through a medical provider should report their case to cps.edu/covidresults. If someone tests positive through CPS’ weekly in-school testing program, the case is automatically reported to CPS. Visit color.com/readycheckgo-cps to sign up for weekly in-school testing.

Step 2: CPS instructs the positive individual to isolate at home for at least five days. Positive individuals can return to class after five days and must wear a mask until ten days after the positive test or symptom onset. If symptoms persist after five days, continue to isolate until symptoms resolve and wear a mask until ten days after the positive test.

Step 3: CPS’ Contact Tracing Team identifies “close contacts” who have been exposed to COVID-19. In elementary school classrooms, anyone who was in a classroom with a positive individual is regarded as a close contact. For high school classrooms, CPS conducts interviews with positive individuals to determine close contacts. In high schools, close contacts are defined as anyone who has been within six feet of the positive individual for 15 minutes or longer.

Step 4: CPS’ Contact Tracing Team notifies “close contacts” that they have been exposed. Close contacts can continue to attend school, but must wear a mask for ten days after the last date of exposure. Close contacts are strongly recommended to test for COVID-19 on the next immediate Monday and the next immediate Thursday following exposure.

Downloads

  • What Does CPS Do When Someone Tests Positive For COVID-19? [ ENGLISH | SPANISH ]

CPS strongly recommends wearing a mask in school. Masks significantly reduce your chances of getting COVID-19.

Some students and staff will choose — or need — to wear a mask. Other students and staff will choose not to wear a mask. Choosing whether or not to wear a mask can be a deeply personal decision, and it is important that all students and staff respect each other’s choices about mask-wearing.

There are certain situations when masks will be required in school:

  • Anyone returning from isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test must wear a mask for ten days after the positive test.
  • If a student or staff member has been identified as a close contact — meaning they have been exposed to COVID-19 — they must wear a mask for ten days after exposure.
  • If there is an outbreak in a classroom, individuals in the classroom must wear a mask for ten days.
  • A classroom can be directed to mask by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Downloads

  • CPS Masking Policy [ ENGLISH | SPANISH ]

If you, your child, or a member of your household are traveling outside the city of Chicago, please consult the Travel Guidance webpage or the guidance document below. These resources have information designed to keep you, your family, and our school communities safe and limit the spread of COVID-19.

Some CPS schools require students, staff and visitors to complete an online Daily Health Screener form before arriving at the school. For schools that do not require the online form, please review the Self Screener.

  • View Health Screener and Self Screener Instructions

In order to provide a safe learning environment for all, CPS follows guidelines for classroom cleaning and disinfection. View the guidance below:

  • Classroom Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidelines [ ENGLISH | SPANISH ]

Key Safety Measures

Learn about the key safety measures that the District has put in place to keep school communities safe from COVID-19.

  • Safety Guidance and Updates (1)

    Masks

    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.

  • Safety Guidance and Updates (2)

    Testing

    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.

  • Safety Guidance and Updates (3)

    Contact Tracing

    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.

  • Safety Guidance and Updates (4)

    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.

  • Safety Guidance and Updates (5)

    Additional Custodians

    To ensure comprehensive cleaning protocols are completed every day, the District has hired additional custodians.

  • Safety Guidance and Updates (6)

    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.

  • Safety Guidance and Updates (7)

    Disinfectant Wipes

    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.

  • Safety Guidance and Updates (8)

    Hospital-Grade Disinfectant Sprayers

    Every CPS school has a hospital-grade mister spray unit that will evenly apply EPA-approved disinfectant for maximum disinfection.

  • Safety Guidance and Updates (9)

    Community Notifications

    CPS adopted consistent procedures and community notification protocols developed by CDPH to respond to any confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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

Safety Guidance and Updates (10)

Catch coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues

Safety Guidance and Updates (11)

Throw away used tissues (then wash hands)

Safety Guidance and Updates (12)

If you don't have a tissue, use your sleeve

Safety Guidance and Updates (13)

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

Safety Guidance and Updates (14)

Stay home if you are feeling sick

Safety Guidance and Updates (15)

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