Vaccine Requirement for Employees
Our highest priority is ensuring the health and safety of our students and staff. In support of that goal, we recently announced that all employees and regular vendors are required to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 by October 15, 2021. We know that widespread vaccination provides us with the best possible opportunity to bring an end to this pandemic, and this measure not only increases safety for employees against infection and severe illness, but it also helps give families and communities confidence in the safety of our schools as students return on Monday, August 30.
Today, we are sharing details on providing proof of full vaccination, testing requirements, and requesting a medical or religious vaccination exemption. Staff members who do not fulfill the requirement to provide proof of vaccination, or who have not been approved as exempt, by October 15 will be ineligible to work for CPS until they are in compliance with the Board’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for staff. This means that they will not be paid and may be subject to discipline up to and including termination.
Providing Proof of full Vaccination
We understand that many of you may have already responded to prior district requests for your vaccination status, and that some of you were even vaccinated at a CPS event. However, all fully vaccinated staff must provide proof of full vaccination by October 15. Full vaccination is defined as at least two weeks after your second shot of a two-shot vaccination course, or at least two weeks after a one-shot vaccination course.
Please use the vaccination compliance site to begin the process. You will be asked to provide information about the vaccination you received, as well as a copy or photograph of your completed vaccination card or immunization record. If you do not have appropriate documentation on hand, or only have evidence of partial vaccination, you may save your response and return when you can upload the appropriate documentation. If you do not have your vaccination card or immunization record, please consult this resource for various ways you can obtain your immunization record.
Testing requirements for vaccinated employees
If you previously informed the district that you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to submit to weekly COVID testing, but weekly testing will be available to you. Employees who have NOT previously reported full vaccination to the district must be tested at least once per week until October 15 or until proof of full vaccination is submitted, whichever is sooner.
Requesting a medical exemption
Employees are eligible for a medical exemption if they have a medical condition where receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is deemed contraindicated by a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathic medicine, physician’s assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse. Employees must upload documentation to support their request, such as a signed letter from their medical provider indicating why the vaccine is contraindicated, to the vaccination compliance site. Letters that do not describe a medical condition where the receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination is contraindicated will not be approved by the district. The district’s decisions are final unless a person’s medical condition changes. Medical exemptions will be reviewed as received and may take up to two weeks for processing. Employees who are denied a medical exemption will be notified in writing and will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 15.
Requesting a religious exemption
Employees requesting a religious exemption must submit via the vaccination compliance site a request which describes their sincerely held religious belief and specific objection to the COVID-19 vaccine. This may include uploading a letter from an authorized representative of the church, temple, or religious institution, as well as literature from the church, temple, or religious institution explaining doctrine/beliefs that prohibit COVID-19 immunization. Applications that do not describe a sincerely held religious belief and objection to the COVID-19 vaccine will not be approved by the district. The district’s decisions are final unless a person's sincerely held religious beliefs change in a way that would warrant reassessment. Religious exemptions will be reviewed as received and may take up to two weeks for processing. Employees who are denied a religious exemption will be notified in writing and will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 15.
Testing requirements for employees exempted from vaccination
Employees approved as exempt from vaccination must be tested for COVID-19 at least once per week throughout the school year.
If you still need to get vaccinated, CPS offers vaccinations at several sites across the city. Click here to find a CPS vaccination site near you, or visit chicago.gov/COVIDVax for more locations across the city. You can also visit vaccines.gov for more information, text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-312-746-4835 to find other COVID-19 vaccine locations near you.
Thank you for doing your part to help us keep each other, our students, and our school communities healthy and safe. If you have questions about this email, please contact us at this link.