Thousands of CPS at-home COVID test kits reportedly cannot be processed due to delays in shipping the test samples; CPS urges parents to have their child tested prior to returning to school on Jan. 3
by BRIAN NADIG
The Chicago Public Schools has been urging parents to get their children tested for COVID prior to returning to classes on Monday, Jan. 3, but thousands of parents who relied on the home tests provided to some students at their school on Dec. 17 reportedly have been notified that their child’s test cannot be properly processed by the lab due to delays in receiving the sample.
CPS reports that 35,463 tests were completed Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 but that nearly 25,000 of the tests were invalid. 18 percent of the tests which were processed in the past week were positive, according to CPS.
Some parents have received an e-mail indicating that their child’s test was not received by the lab within 48 hours due to shipping delays. The email states that the sample must arrive at the lab within 48 hours of the sample being activated in order for it to be reliably processed.
The letter blames weather- and holiday-related shipping issues. It is not clear if the 35,000 figure is the total number of returned tests. CPS has said that it distributed 150,000 at-home test kits to students at more than 300 schools, with a focus on those communities impacted the most by the pandemic.
There were pictures posted on social media of dozens, or in some instances a hundred or more, of test kit packages piling up outside FedEx pickup boxes. CPS eventually extended the deadline for parents to return the test.
Students awaiting test results are instructed to attend classes on Monday unless they are experiencing symptoms or need to to quarantine/isolate based on CDC or city health guidelines, including restrictions for unvaccinated students who traveled out of state over winter break.
The Chicago Teachers Union has called for the school system to implement stronger safety mitigation efforts given the recent worldwide surge in cases due to the Omicron variant.
(The posted picture of the test kits is from the CTU Twitter Page.)