Note: Recipient-submitted material; content authored by recipient, not ELC
Information current as of October 6, 2021

alert icon

To learn more about Chicago’s school testing plans, visit their websiteexternal icon or contact their school-based screening testing program. Camps serving K–12 aged students that are interested in testing can email

Management structure for school screening

Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is recruiting schools and providing outreach through its youth settings team by hosting informational meetings to encourage enrollment in SHIELD IL for screening and testing. Once enrolled, CDPH provides guidelines on testing frequency, protocol to follow when facilities identify a positive test result, and layered mitigation strategies. As SHIELD lab results are reported to the state, schools are instructed to report cases to CDPH via an online case report form. Once reported, an infection prevention specialist from CDPH will contact the facility and provide guidance, via telephone and follow-up email, on isolation, contact tracing, quarantine, and strengthening mitigation measures to prevent cases. The infection prevention specialists verify that facilities are appropriately notifying all close contacts and recommendations for classroom/facility closures are provided, if applicable. Finally, if an outbreak (two or more cases) is detected, CDPH investigates and provides recommendations on improving the school’s layered mitigation strategies. CDPH closely monitors the Chicago COVID-19 dashboard daily and evaluates the data such as COVID community vulnerability index, community transmission (i.e., positivity rates, vaccination rates, test performed, and occurrence of outbreaks by zip codes), and focuses on those high/medium areas. For all schools, non-Chicago Public Schools (CPS), and CPS, CDPH continues to provide vaccination support through school-based vaccination sites and the option for in-home vaccination to all students, staff, and community members 12-years and older.

Support provided to school districts

All public and nonpublic schools in Illinois serving PreK-12 students are expected to follow Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Public Health, and CDPH guidance, which is derived from CDC guidance. CDPH communicates the current levels of community transmission to SHIELD IL and CPS, as well as what the CDC testing recommendations are for implementation of the appropriate testing frequency. CDPH provides COVID-19 case management guidance and guidance on quarantining, in addition to the layered mitigation strategies. CDPH investigates any outbreaks identified through individual case reports, school case reports, and the screening testing programs.