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Chicago pushes student vaccinations ahead of school year

July 7, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago schools will encourage student COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of the start of the school year with school-based vaccination sites and events, officials announced Wednesday.

Officials with the nation’s third-largest school district plan to offer full in-person instruction in the fall and want to vaccinate as many students as possible before classes begin next month. District officials said they are “not in a position” to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, but will ask families to submit COVID-19 vaccine documents as is the practice with other vaccinations.

Starting next week the district will offer vaccines at three school sites for students and their families. The sites will be able to administer 600 doses weekly. he district is also working with hospitals for vaccination events in areas with low vaccination rates and offering the shots at back-to-school events.

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“Schools are trusted pillars of our communities, and as a district we are uniquely suited to help expand vaccination opportunities, which helps create the safest possible learning environments at our schools,” said José M. Torres, interim schools CEO.

More than 50,000 children under the age of 18 have already been vaccinated in Chicago, according to the city’s Department of Public Health.

Roughly 350,000 students attend Chicago Public Schools.