Chicago Park District’s COVID-19 Response Plan
COVID-19 Recommended Safety Measures
The City of Chicago and Cook County are currently in the "Low" risk category for community transmission of COVID-19. In Low Risk the Chicago Park District and Chicago Department of Public Health strongly recommend individuals:
- Stay up to date* with COVID-19 vaccines.
- Get tested if you have symptoms.
- Follow all isolation guidance, including wearing a face mask.
- If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions.
Patron Policies and Procedures
The following COVID-19 updated policies and procedures will be implemented for our Fall 2022 Programming (including Park Kids). These policies and procedures are in accordance with the guidance and recommendations of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are being put in place to ensure that our programming can continue to be operated safely and have as few disruptions due to COVID-19 as possible.
COVID-19 Safety Measures and Best Management Practices
The Chicago Park District is following the safety measures and best management practices listed below to minimize the potential for COVID-19 transmission in our parks:
- Encourage the use of face coverings in accordance with Chicago Community COVID-19 Risk Level recommendations found at: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid-19/home/community-transmission-and-risk.html
- Promote staff and patrons to stay up to date with vaccinations
- Promote social distancing and spacing between groups or classes
- Keep groups or classes together and “static” to the greatest extent possible
- Conduct contact tracing and notify close contacts following a positive case
- Clean and disinfect all high touch surfaces regularly
Face covering are not required, however, they are strongly recommended in our public indoor settings. We encourage everyone to wear a face coverings, especially while indoors and be supportive of others who choose to wear a mask outdoors as well. Park patrons are responsible for supplying their own face coverings.
Self-Screening for Symptoms
All patrons should self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 and stay home if they feel sick. Please be on the lookout for common symptoms of COVID-19, which include:
- Fever or chills
- Cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle aches
Signs of Illness at the Park
If a patron begins to show signs of COVID-19 symptoms while at the park, they will be separated from their group or class and taken to an isolation area and parents or caregivers will be immediately notified so the patron can be picked up. If the patron is an adult they will be asked to leave the park.
Procedures Followed When a Positive Case is Identified in a Program
When a patron within a Park Program tests positive for COVID-19, they should immediately notify the Park Supervisor of the park where the patron is enrolled. The patron will need to isolate and will not be able to participate in park programs or use indoor park facilities for at least five days from the day of the positive test or the day that symptoms began. If the patron has been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing mediation and their symptoms are resolving by Day 5, the patron may return to park programs on Day 6 with the following precautions in place:
- From Days 6 - 10, patrons must wear a tightly fitted mask at all times, including while outdoors, except when eating or drinking.
- When masks must be removed for eating and drinking, these patrons must maintain six feet of social distance from others wherever possible.
- Patrons who are unable to wear a tightly fitted mask at all times must stay home for the full 10 days even if they are symptom free. This situation includes some sports programming where masks are not able to be worn at all times including swimming, wrestling, boxing and some gymnastics programming. This also applies to patrons who have a medical exemption and are unable to wear a face mask.
Close Contact Notification and Mask Requirement
Close contacts of the positive individual will be notified via email or telephone call as soon as possible. A close contact is defined as someone who was less than 6 feet away for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period from a person who tests positive for COVID-19 starting 2 days before the infected person developed symptom, or the date they tested positive if they do not have symptoms. In most cases all members of a group or class, including the instructor, will be considered close contacts of the person who tested positive.
For Fall 2022 programming the Chicago Park District is implementing the updated guidance from CDPH and CDC which no longer recommends quarantine for close contacts regardless of vaccination status.
All patrons identified as close contacts may remain in park programming but must wear a tightly fitted face covering at all times while at the park for 10 days following the last date of exposure. Please note that this includes both indoor and outdoor settings as well as non-public common areas. Patrons are responsible for supplying their own masks.
It is recommended, but not required, that close contacts also get tested for COVID-19 five days following exposure.
Cleaning/Disinfecting and Hand Hygiene Policy
To provide the safest environment possible, all parks will continue to complete routine cleaning and disinfecting throughout the facility with increased rates of disinfection on high touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, handrails, and light switches. All patrons should regularly wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer that will be available at all locations.
Chicago Park District Employee Vaccination Policy
The health and welfare of Chicago Park District employees and patrons continue to be our top priority as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why the Chicago Park District has instituted a policy that all Chicago Park District employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption.
To learn more, read the policy: Chicago Park District Employee Vaccination Policy