Jan 24, 2022 - COVID

Vaccination bright spot: Cristo Rey High School

School with kids out front
Students at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. Photo courtesy of Cristo Rey

CPS announced last week that 53% of its high schoolers and about a third of elementary school students are now vaccinated, an improvement over fall figures.

But at least one school, a Catholic high school in Pilsen, has achieved 100% vaccination.

  • Officials at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School say all of their 545 students are vaccinated except two with medical exemptions.
  • For comparison, nearby Benito Juarez High School has a 65% vaccination rate for its 1,680 students.

How: The all-Latino high school made COVID vaccinations mandatory.

Between the lines: Cristo Rey students do work-study programs with corporations all over Chicago as part of their education.

  • "So we felt like it was important both for the in-person learning experience, as well as to be good stewards with our corporate partners, [to require vaccination], just knowing that we'd be sending students back into the downtown office spaces," principal Lucas Schroeder tells Axios.

The key: Getting buy-in required, "conversations … some education and partnering with St. Anthony's Hospital to run several vaccination clinics over the summer on site at our school," Schroeder said.

Advice to other schools: "It takes a lot of patience … and to listen to the families and to hear their concerns," Schroeder said. "I think that at the end, we all want the same thing."

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