Classes for Chicago Public Schools students will be canceled Friday, Nov. 12 to allow families an opportunity to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19, now that the vaccine has been approved for kids ages 5 to 11.
The school district will hold a “vaccine awareness day,” which combined with Veterans Day on Thursday will give CPS students a four-day weekend. The announcement comes just over a week before that newly announced day off.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week gave the final signoff to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opens a major expansion of the nation’s vaccination campaign.
Those doses are just one-third of the amount given to teens and adults, and already younger kids have begun receiving the vaccine.
The Chicago Teachers Union applauded the move Thursday evening, saying it welcomes “Chicago Public Schools acknowledging the urgent need for parents and families to vaccinate their children, and providing the time and opportunity to do so.”
“CPS’ decision to close schools and give all school staff paid time off is welcome relief from the stress of trying to protect and educate students without the resources to address their needs,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement. “But we cannot stop here. Our students are crying out for support in every way possible.”
CPS has said it will give students multiple chances to get vaccinated, beginning next week. The district will offer shots at its four regional vaccination clinics, as well as at mobile vaccination units and school-based health centers.
Per the city, kids 5 and over will be eligible for a $100 incentive while receiving their vaccine at a CPS- or Chicago Department of Public Health-hosted clinic or event.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.