By Gary Jenkins
BAPA Safety Liaison
Summer is over and children are already back in school. As students attend in-person school, parents should remain mindful that we are still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, the emergence of the Delta variant continues to be of great concern to health professionals and state and city government officials. The pandemic safety measures mandated in 2020 may be reintroduced; wearing masks at indoor public spaces such as schools is already mandatory in Chicago.
The 2021/2022 school year promises to be like no other. It is expected that all schools in the Beverly/Morgan Park community are returning to some type of full in-person learning. Schools are implementing safety measures to help keep students and staff safe. It is important that parents and guardians keep up to date with the latest safety information provided by school, federal, state, county, and local officials, as well as by health professionals.
Chicago Public School has instituted COVID-19 safety measures which include requiring all students, employees, and visitors complete a daily COVID-19 health screener prior to arriving in any CPS school or facility.
The CPS Safe & Clean Learning Environment plan calls for face coverings, contact tracing, HEPA filters and air quality assessments, additional custodians, plexiglass dividers, signage, community notifications, disinfectant sprayers and wipes, and sanitizer and soap.
CPS Safety Best Practices include: wash hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer gel; catching coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues; throwing away used tissues then washing hands. Students and staff should also avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and they should stay home if they are feeling sick
Every school will have a designated care room where sick or symptomatic students will remain under supervised care until their parents or guardians pick them up.
Visit cps.edu for additional COVID-19 related information.
According to the it’s website, the Archdiocese of Chicago safety protocols for the 2021/2022 school year for Catholic schools are:
Students who are ill or experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms MUST stay home.
Schools will follow prevailing local health department guidelines concerning quarantines.
Classrooms and activities will be arranged to maintain three feet of physical distance indoors whenever possible.
Schools will maintain daily cleaning procedures for desks and high traffic areas.
Students and staff will be encouraged to sanitize hands upon arrival to classroom and throughout the day as good hygiene practice, as well as use water bottles instead of drinking directly from the water fountains.
Providing proof of vaccination help in contact tracing and for ensuring that vaccinated students, if exposed, are not included in quarantine requirements. Visit schools.archchicago.org for complete details.
The Center for Disease Control recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
The CDC’s Guidance for COVID-I9 Prevention in K-12 Schools includes promoting vaccinations, consistently and correctly wearing masks, physical distancing, screenings, handwashing, staying home when sick, and proper cleaning and disinfecting.
For more information on the CDC guidelines, visit cdc.gov.
The City of Chicago and the State of Illinois are sources of critical and timely COVID-19 polices, updates, and changes. Visit chicago.gov and dph.illinois.gov/covid19 to stay informed.