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Chicago Public Schools System Cancels Classes For Friday, Nov. 12, For 'Vaccine Awareness Day'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago Public Schools are getting an unexpected, last-minute day off on Friday, Nov. 12.

New CPS Chief Executive Officer Pedro Martinez said it for a Vaccine Awareness Day, to encourage caregivers to take their kids to get vaccinated.

As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, the announcement came as a surprise late Thursday.

Martinez said in a statement that it is to ensure all eligible students have the opportunity to receive the vaccine as quickly as possible.

The district's 340,000 students already have Thursday, Nov. 11 off for Veterans Day, and now they will get a second consecutive day off on Friday, Nov. 12.

The district is encouraging families and guardians to reach out to their doctors, health care providers, and pharmacies to try to schedule an appointment.

CPS' school-based clinics will be open – but only for existing appointments. But the key is to reach out to see if appointments are even available.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued formal recommendations this week for children between the ages of 5 and 11 to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine.

The Chicago Teachers Union is applauding the Vaccine Awareness Day move.

"We welcome the district acknowledging the urgent need for parents and families to vaccinate their children, and providing time and opportunity to do so," the CTU said in part in statement issued via Twitter.

But some working parents are frustrated with the short notice, and one teacher said there is another reason for the last-minute day off – a shortage of substitute teachers for that Friday.

Kozlov reached out to CPS about that – along with some other questions.

Meanwhile CPS sporting events will be going on as usual that Friday.

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