Chicago Public Schools, city leaders team up for fight against COVID-19

Chicago Public Schools and the Department of Public Health are joining forces to help keep kids safe in the face of the spreading Delta variant.

During Thursday’s news conference, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allisson Arwady said the numbers show the news is good and the number of cases at CPS is very low.

Still, new CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said there's room for improvement and announced several changes.


At the top of the list is transparency. He said parents can find more information faster at a new, dedicated COVID-19 dashboard for CPS that updates reported cases within 24 hours.

There will also be a doubling of the number of contact tracers.

COVID-19 screening testing will also be available at all public schools starting Friday. These are children who are not symptomatic but can be routinely tested just in case.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez.

"So I want to reassure you that the procedures and protocols that the Chicago Public Schools has in place are working," Arwady said.

Martinez said he’s also considering expanding remote learning, but cautions that school is the best place for kids to be.

"Learning that we’re learning remote last year did not do well academically. Their mental health, their social and emotional well-being suffered. We’re still learning what the impacts of that are going to be. So I want to make that very clear," Martinez said.

"But I also want to make sure that I’m hearing our parents that are very, very anxious right now and I’ve learned a lot just from my previous experience with COVID so I am going to be looking at what is our capacity to expand remote options. If we can accommodate our families, I would like to do that."


Martinez warns that children are at greater risk for depression COVID when they stay at home. He said his two children will continue to go to class.

Of 15,000 students quarantined, CPS said so far this year 98% of the students did not get the virus.

When asked about reaching a deal with the Chicago Teachers Union, Martinez said no one would like that more than him.