Why mandating vaccines for CPS teachers and staff is a smart plan for CPS

This mandate will promote a safe environment for CPS employees and students


On August 13, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that all Chicago Public Schools employees must be fully vaccinated by October 15. This is a smart plan that will encourage people to get vaccinated while keeping CPS teachers, staff and students safe. When the plan was announced, CPS stated that 78% of employees had been vaccinated. 

It’s essential for the safety of everyone that teachers, students, and staff be vaccinated. While the Delta variant, now the dominant variant in the U.S., has driven up the numbers of positive tests in Chicago and the rest of the country, the vast majority of cases have been among the unvaccinated. Over the past few weeks the number of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations have sharply increased in Cook County, despite 80% of eligible residents having received at least one shot. Mandating vaccines for CPS teachers and staff is imperative to protecting Chicago’s children and maintaining continuity in the school year. Having fully vaccinated faculty will give these children an extra barrier of safety from COVID-19. 

There are a number of CPS employees who are in opposition to this mandate. They argue that the district doesn’t have a right to require vaccines, which is false. The FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine, giving more employers leeway in requiring their employees to get vaccinated. The Chicago Teachers Union even recommended a vaccine mandate during negotiations with CPS Officials over COVID-19 protocols for this school year. 


Additionally, students look to their teachers as role models. Teachers can set an example for their students and show that the vaccine works and reduces the effect COVID-19 can have on a community. This may convince students who have been hesitant to get vaccinated. The only way that school will fully go back to the way it was before the pandemic is if CPS institutes a vaccine mandate for students above the age of 12, those eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. CPS is taking the right step towards this by mandating vaccines for all participants of CPS sports teams. 

CPS’ decision to mandate vaccines is a smart move that will keep both faculty and students safe. In order to ensure the full safety of all students and a full in person school year, a vaccine mandate should eventually be put into place for all students.