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After Revelation About Food Worker At School Distribution Center, CPS Reveals 75 Employees, Vendors Have Tested Positive For COVID-19

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Classes might be canceled for Chicago Public Schools students, yet many people are still working in the buildings.

CBS 2's Jermont Terry found out many of those essential workers are testing positive for COVID-19 too.

It's not clear where the workers contracted the virus. But since the doors closed at schools statewide, 75 active CPS employees and vendors are positive – and parents want CPS to be more transparent.

Like most parents, Michael Montagano wants to make sure his daughter stays safe. The 14-year-old is slated to graduate from Parker Community Academy, 6800 S. Stewart Ave., in a few weeks – though she won't walk across the stage.

Her CPS school in Englewood, like all the others, is shut down. But Parker Academy now serves as a food distribution center for the community – or it did, until a worker tested positive for coronavirus.

"They said a person," Montagano said. "I discovered later on thanks to CBS news it was a food worker."

It leaves Montagano, a local school council parent, concerned with the safety of anyone picking up the meals. This week, CBS 2 reported on how CPS only sent letters to parents about the positive food worker at Parker – not the entire community – and we wanted to know how many others tested positive for the virus while working around the food.

So we kept pressing. CPS revealed across the district, it has been notified of 75 staff members and service vendors having tested positive.

"One number is alarming; 75 is definitely alarming," Montagano said.

He believes the community should get more information.

"As a parent leader, I'd like to know the schools that are involved," he said.

But legal experts said it is not clear that the district is obligated to reveal specifics. CPS will only say the 75 positive cases involve people working remotely and also physically reporting to work.

And Montagano knows vendors travel to various schools, and thinks people should be told which doors a COVID-19-positive vendor walked through.

"The vendors that are involved, I know there's several vendors that work for CPS, and let the community be aware," he said.

CPS did halt all operations at the food distribution center at Parker Elementary. It will reopen in two weeks.

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