Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: April 3rd – April 9th, 2021

No End in Sight to Latest COVID-19 Spike: Chicago’s Top Doc

By Heather Cherone for WTTW

“Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are continuing to surge among young Chicagoans on the city’s North Side and there is no sign that will change anytime soon, Chicago’s top doctor said Thursday. “We can see that the numbers are continuing to rise, without any sign of decrease at this point,” Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said in an online question-and-answer session Thursday. Arwady first warned Chicagoans nine days ago that the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases and illnesses were rising in the city. Since then, the average number of Chicagoans who have been diagnosed each day with the coronavirus has risen 48%, according to data provided by the Chicago Department of Public Health. Cases are rising fastest among White Chicagoans ages 18-40 who live on the North Side, a significant change from the early days of the pandemic when COVID-19 disproportionately infected Black and Latino Chicagoans living on the city’s South and West sides.”


CPS High School Students Set To Return To Class April 19, But Rising COVID Rates In Chicago Could Be Sticking Point

By Dana Kozlov for CBS

“The target date for Chicago Public Schools high school students to return to class is less than two weeks away. Talks between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union about making that happen continued on Tuesday. But as CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, there could be a new sticking point. While the target return date of Monday, April 19, has not changed, the COVID-19 positivity rate in Chicago has changed since it was announced – and not for better. It has gone up 2 percent in just the past couple of weeks, especially among young people. That rising rate could have a big impact on the ongoing negotiations. As of Tuesday, it had been a month since grade schoolers who opted for in-person learning have been back in Chicago Public Schools classrooms. That comes after weeks of contentious negotiations between CPS and the union.”


Clearing more hurdles — this time with parents — to get kids back in school

By The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board

“What will it take to get more children back in classrooms? We’re asking ourselves that because of a new poll that found 69% of parents nationally are concerned that their children’s learning and social development are suffering because of remote learning during the pandemic. That’s no surprise. Virtual learning is a distant second to in-person teaching. Yet in Chicago, and in other parts of the country where schools have reopened, fewer than half of the students are back in their classrooms. Clearly, most parents are still wrestling with their fear of COVID-19, as the poll from the Associated Press/University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy also found: 64% of parents are concerned about the greater spread of coronavirus due to in-person schooling.”


Democratic ward bosses to be asked to endorse elected school board bills Lightfoot opposes

By Fran Spielman & Rachel Hinton for The Chicago Sun-Times

“Democratic ward bosses will be asked Wednesday to endorse legislation vehemently opposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot — bills that would create an elected board to run Chicago Public Schools — in a move one committeeperson called an extension of party Chairman Toni Preckwinkle’s political feud with Lightfoot. Lightfoot campaigned as a staunch proponent of an elected school board, only to repeatedly block what she calls an “unwieldy” bill that would triple the size of the board to 21 members, headed by an elected president. Last month, she fueled speculation about whether she will ever deliver on that pivotal campaign promise by telling the New York Times that CPS would “never have opened without mayoral control.” “It definitely feels like Preckwinkle is trying to put the screws to Mayor Lightfoot to take action on an elected school board — or at least show that [Cook County Board] President Preckwinkle is standing in solidarity with teachers,” said Ald. Ray Lopez (15th), who doubles as Democratic committeeperson in his Southwest Side ward.”