— Health

Chicago Public Schools Cancel Classes So Kids Can Get Vaccinated

What’s better than a surprise four-day weekend? How about a potentially lifesaving vaccination? Students in Chicago Public Schools will get both next week when the district closes schools on Friday for what it’s called Vaccination Awareness Day. Students already have the Veterans Day holiday off on Thursday, so it’s a long weekend. Instead of classes, four high schools will host regional vaccination clinics. Anyone eligible for the vaccine ― including children five years and older ― is encouraged to stop by or get the shot elsewhere. Chicago city employees will also receive two hours of paid leave on Friday to take their kids to get vaccinated.

A healthcare worker prepares to inject a student with a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at London Middle School in Wheeling, Ill., Friday, June 11, 2021. With over 340,000 students across 636 schools, Chicago Public Schools is the third-largest U.S. school district after New York and Los Angeles. Given that reach, school district leaders hope to invest in a day off now to prevent pandemic-related closures in the future. “We rarely make a late change to the school calendar, but we see this as an important investment in the future of this school year and the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and families,” school CEO Pedro Martinez wrote in a letter to families announcing the day off. “I hope you will strongly consider vaccinating your children on Vaccination Awareness Day.”

Portions of the district are woefully unvaccinated. Data obtained by the Chicago Teachers Union this week shows that just 47% of eligible public school students are vaccinated, compared with 58% of that age group citywide. An analysis by WBEZ Chicago found racial disparities and economic divides are reflected in the city’s vaccination rates. For instance, in the relatively affluent neighborhood of Lincoln Park, 89% of eligible children are vaccinated. But in the southern Chicago community of Englewood, the rate is just 16%.

“My mom and my stepdad, they’ve been working 24/7, and they each have two jobs, and they’re busy all the time,” Yobany Trinidad, a high school sophomore, told the NPR station. Trinidad was turned away from a vaccine clinic because a parent didn’t accompany him. The teachers’ union welcomed the vaccine push in a statement Thursday and encouraged everyone eligible, including parents, educators, and staff, to get the shot. The association also urged the district to “lessen the burden” on working families by opening more than four vaccine sites. “The district should set up a vaccination clinic at every school, organize after-school events, and provide significant incentives for families,” union President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement. “Claiming that ‘everything is fine while short-changing the safety of other people’s children is no way to build trust.”

Gemma Broadhurst
I am a writer by profession, and I love to write in my spare time. I am one of the most experienced writer for newspriest. I always make sure that whatever is written on my blog is 100% genuine and true. I am a University of Florida graduate pursuing a Master's degree.

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