What’s better than a surprise four-day weekend? How about a potentially lifesaving vaccination? Students in Chicago Public Schools will get both next weeks 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 . Anyone eligible for the five years of age and older ― are 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 . With more than 340,000 , Chicago Public Schools is the third-largest U.S. , after New York and Los Angeles. Given that reach, investing in a day off now can prevent pandemic-related closures in the future.
“We rarely make a late change to the school calendar, but we see this as an importantand the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and families,” schools CEO Pedro Martinez wrote in a letter to families announcing the day off. “I hope you will strongly consider getting your children vaccinated on Vaccination Awareness Day.” A health care worker prepares to inject a student with a dose of the Pfizer vaccine during a vaccination clinic at London Middle School in Wheeling, Ill., Friday, June 11, 2021.
Portions of the district are woefully unvaccinated. Data obtained by the Chicago Teachers Union thisshows 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 . 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 working families by opening more than just four vaccine sites. “The , 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.”from a vaccine clinic because a parent didn’t accompany him. The teachers’ 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