Afternoon Edition: Aug. 5, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks about Chicago Public Schools’ plans for remote learning in the fall during a press conference at City Hall this morning.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

It’s another beautiful afternoon: Sunny with a high near 77 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 62. Tomorrow, expect more sunshine, and a high around 80 degrees.

Top story

Chicago Public Schools staying closed due to worsening COVID-19 conditions, Lightfoot says

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she bowed to the science, not the teachers union, in abruptly shifting Chicago Public Schools to a remote learning plan for the fall that officials say will have far more structure and accountability than classes did in the spring.

The mayor cited worsening public health conditions and parent concerns about in-person schooling today in walking back a proposal to return to classrooms next month. To improve the experience for parents and students, schools chief Janice Jackson promised full-day live online instruction five days a week by all teachers and some small group online learning.

The city will hold remote learning for CPS’ 355,000 students beginning Sept. 8, the previously scheduled start to the school year, through at least the end of the first quarter, Nov. 6. Officials said they hope the virus can be sufficiently contained by that time to implement the two-days-a-week hybrid learning plan they had been touting up to this point.

Details of the new at-home learning model will be released in the coming days, Jackson said, with the goal of unveiling a more comprehensive plan than the makeshift one used in the spring, when the pandemic forced surprise school closures. Still, Jackson acknowledged at a morning news conference with Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady that this move is not ideal and not what she was hoping for: “In a perfect world, students would be in school more, not less.”

Here’s what we know about what a virtual school day will look like for CPS students this fall

“Students who have been left out, students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds — I am extremely concerned about what this means for them,” the schools chief said. “We are doing everything we can to try to mitigate any adverse effects to kids having to be educated in this way.

“But I think the plan that we’ve put in place is the safest plan at this time,” she said. “We remain committed to getting kids back in school as quickly as possible, and I hope the health conditions allow us to do that on November 6.”

Despite Arwady as recently as yesterday saying she supported the plan to put students and teachers back in classrooms, she shifted tone today. Asked why previously stated thresholds for school closure of 400 cases and 8% positivity were not followed, Arwady said a rapid increase in cases, from consistently below 200 a month ago to almost 280 and still rising now, was a cause for concern. She also cited a quick increase in the positivity rate from 3.8% last month to 4.8% today.

Along with the announcement of a move to remote learning, CPS released a summary of survey results today from 87,000 parents, teachers and students that showed 41% of elementary school parents and 38% of high school parents said they wouldn’t send their kids to school. Among Black and Latino families, who make up more than 80% of the district, only about 20% said they would let their children go to school in person.

Read Nader Issa’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. The Chicago Police Department is warning officers to watch out for potential retaliation for the fatal shooting of rapper FBG Duck while he was shopping in the Gold Coast yesterday afternoon. The slain 26-year-old rapper, whose name is Carlton Weekly, was on social media antagonizing rival gang members before he was killed, police said.
  2. Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump announced he planned to send 200 agents from several federal law enforcement agencies to Chicago to fight gun crimes alongside local cops. Operation Legend has contributed to a surge of new gun cases being filed in federal court in Chicago since then, according to sources and court records.
  3. Despite admitting last month to its role in a scheme that allegedly sent $1.3 million to allies of House Speaker Michael Madigan while lobbying Madigan’s support for favorable legislation, ComEd pleaded not guilty through an attorney to criminal conduct today.
  4. Christopher Lara, 19, has been charged as the alleged driver in a shooting that killed 10-year-old Lena Nunez in Logan Square. The suspected shooter is still at large.
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A bright one

From Harvard Ave. to Harvard: CHA resident heads to Ivy Leagues with boost from Springboard to Success

Growing up, Anicia Miller’s mother told her she could go “from Harvard Avenue to Harvard University” — a motto that kept her motivated throughout her schooling. 

The motto, which referred to her extended family’s home on Harvard Avenue on the South Side, will come true this fall when Miller enrolls as a first-year student at the Ivy League university.


Anicia Miller, 18, of the South Loop, receives a Chromebook laptop and other toiletries and dorm room essentials at the Chicago Housing Authority’s 10th annual “Take Flight College Send-Off.”

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Yesterday, Miller was one of 150 students who took part in the Chicago Housing Authority’s 10th annual “Take Flight” college send-off for residents who live in public housing or who benefit from housing vouchers. Hosted by CHA’s nonprofit partner Springboard to Success, the event provided students with necessities like bed sheets, toiletries and new Chromebook computers. Miller, who attended St. Ignatius College Prep, also received a $1,000 grant that will “help fund all of my tech needs,” she said.

Miller plans to study biomedical engineering, possibly with a double major in neuroscience or a minor in molecular and cellular biology. Although she will be attending online for the fall quarter, she’s already made friends with incoming freshmen through a group chat and Zoom calls. “I’m feeling pretty excited,” she said.

Read the full story from Jade Yan.

From the press box

Duncan Keith and Adam Boqvist have been a staple at the top of the Blackhawks’ defensive depth chart since December, but the Oilers’ Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have presented a serious challenge, writes Ben Pope. The Hawks play the Oilers in Game 3 of their NHL playoff series tonight at 9:30 p.m. on NBCSCH.

The Cubs are preparing to face a Cardinals team that hasn’t played since July 29 after 13 players and staff tested positive for COVID-19. The series is scheduled to begin Friday in St. Louis. 

With All-Big Ten guard Ayo Dosunmu and Big Ten freshman of the year Kofi Cockburn returning to Champaign, Illinois men’s basketball fans have high hopes for the upcoming season. But the coronavirus might have other plans, writes Steve Greenberg.

And have you heard? Jay Cutler’s Instagram account is gone.

Your daily question ☕

What are some things you would bring with you if you had to work and live inside a “bubble” like some pro athletes are doing now?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked CPS parents if they would opt in or out of in-person learning this fall (the city has since announced that all students will be learning remotely at the start of the school year). Here’s what some of you said…

“I’m going to opt out of in-school learning this fall. I’m not allowing my kids to go to school and risking their health and possibly catching the virus and bringing it home for the entire family to catch. Good health, family and life is more important than education. All it takes is one student or staff member to infect everyone and shut it down.” — Santos Aranda

“I prefer in-school learning because there is very little learning going on for my son when it is virtual. That’s just the way he’s wired. He needs the stimulation and interaction that comes with being physically in school and around teachers and classmates.” — Arthur B. Cajigal

“Yes, already opted out. Summer camps with precautions failed to keep kids safe. Professional sports failed too. If adults can’t follow simple rules to stop the spread who in their right mind thinks KIDS will?” — Maria Perdziak

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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