Chicago Closes Schools for ‘Vaccination Awareness Day’; Parents Scramble for Child Care

By Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Epoch Times.
November 11, 2021 Updated: November 11, 2021

Chicago public schools canceled schools for “Vaccination Awareness Day” on Nov. 12 to increase vaccinations among children, leaving some parents in need of child care.

“CPS plans to close all schools on Nov. 12, giving parents and guardians an opportunity to get their children vaccinated,” the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) wrote on Twitter. We welcome the district acknowledging the urgent need for parents and families to vaccinate their children, and providing time and opportunity to do so.”

The school closure also provides a paid day off for school staff members.

“We’re all exhausted by daily challenges to safety and security confronted in this pandemic. 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 resources to address their needs,” the CTU noted.

The union said the mayor and city must “do more,” noting the current vaccination rate among 12- to 17-year-olds in Chicago remains below 50 percent.

“The mayor and her Dept. of Public Health must also do more than the status quo in providing ease of access to vaccinations, which still has our 12–17-year-old student population vaccination rate under 50%. Reduce the stress on families trying to find shots,” the CTU wrote.

Parents were only notified of the day off a week in advance. The extra closure resulted in a four-day vacation, with schools also closed for Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

Some parents were upset at the poor planning associated with the extra school day off.

“Chicago Public Schools have cancelled all classes this Friday for ‘Vaccine Awareness Day,'” Steve Hanke of the Cato Institute wrote on Twitter. “This is a foolish idea. Parents have been forced to scramble at the 11th hour to find daycare.

“No wonder parents dislike public schools & teachers unions.”

Others criticized the idea of closing all school locations on the same day to encourage children to be vaccinated.

“If we are truly getting this day off for a vaccination day, which is a good idea, we’re going to have a comprehensive plan that includes communication, that includes transportation, and that includes anchoring vaccination sites at all of our school communities,” CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The concerns are especially important as Chicago is the third-largest public school district in the nation.

In contrast, New York City is setting up more than 1,000 vaccination sites this month, including some inside schools, in an effort to boost the city’s child COVID-19 vaccination rate.

However, not all parents support child COVID-19 vaccinations. The recent approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration was based on studies that many believe leave room for improvement.

Others have argued the COVID-19 positive rate among children remains low, negating the need for students to receive the vaccination.

Christopher Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Epoch Times.