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Afternoon Edition: Sept. 24, 2020

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

A parent started an online petition calling on CPS to reduce the amount of screen time for the youngest students. But not all families think the requirements are too burdensome.
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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.

More beautiful weather is in store this afternoon, which will be sunny with a high near 78 degrees. Tonight’s low will be 58 degrees. Tomorrow will be a bit warmer: sunny with a high near 81 degrees.

Top story

A remote learning debate rages: How much computer time is too much?

Months after remote learning discussions centered on access to computers, talks have shifted this fall to another heated debate: How much time should kids be spending on those devices every day?

As it goes with most decisions made at Chicago Public Schools, opinions have varied widely on the issue, with many parents and teachers arguing that the current system, which has children in front of a computer for hours at a time, is too burdensome for students and families. Still, others say they’ve managed just fine so far, especially when kids are given breaks throughout the day.

Lori Torres, a Spanish teacher at Monroe Elementary, said she’s watching her students on a daily basis struggle to stay focused or even awake in the afternoon because of long, draining schedules that aren’t tailored to their needs.

“I see my kids, and I know we can do better by them,” Torres said. “I think if the district is wanting us to be successful at this — I know I want to be successful at this, and my kids do, too — I think it requires us to really take a look at what the expectations are for these children and try to refocus so that these schedules are more humane, and so that families can support kids as best as possible.”

CPS’ remote learning guidance calls for 360-minute school days for elementary students, with 180 minutes of daily synchronous learning featuring live instruction for kindergarten through second grade, 205 synchronous minutes for third to fifth grades and 230 minutes per day of synchronous learning for sixth through eight graders. In high school, courses are to be 80% synchronous, the district said.

Gabrielle Wilson, a mother of a kindergartner and a second-grader, urged district leaders at the Board of Education’s monthly meeting yesterday to allow for more flexibility.

“The current remote model is impossible for working parents,” Wilson said. “I am proposing a less demanding synchronous working schedule. … The current remote scheduling that models a traditional bell schedule needs to be changed immediately.”

Wilson pointed to guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education released over the summer that say districts should be mindful of caretakers’ schedules and allow for flexibility for families — guidance Wilson said CPS isn’t following.

She started an online petition a week ago calling on CPS to reduce required screen time for the youngest elementary students. The petition had garnered more than 2,800 signatures by yesterday afternoon.

School board member Lucino Sotelo said officials know the remote learning plan isn’t perfect, and parents should make their voices heard at their individual schools. CPS CEO Janice Jackson added that while she believes the year is off to a good start, she and other officials recognize “the need to innovate and to be dynamic.”

“We’re not spiking the ball at the 20-yard line,” Jackson said. “We still have work to do.”

Read Nader Issa’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Hundreds of protesters flooded Chicago streets from Auburn Gresham to Logan Square last night, decrying a grand jury decision not to charge police officers in the fatal Louisville, Kentucky, shooting of Breonna Taylor. “March after march. Protest after protest. And nothing changes in America,” Rev. Michael Pfleger said.
  2. Did you know that the controversial “no-knock” warrants questioned in the Breonna Taylor case are legal in Illinois? Several lawsuits have been filed against Chicago police officers who allegedly used them to search the homes of people who’ve done nothing wrong. Reporter Sam Charles provides a quick explainer.
  3. The South Side church where Emmett Till’s battered body was displayed in an open casket, helping to spark the civil rights movement, was placed on a list of the nation’s most endangered historic places today. Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ is at 4021 S. State St. in Bronzeville.
  4. Chicago’s “Dread Head Cowboy” rode his horse to exhaustion — and narrowly close to death — while protesting gun violence against children on the Dan Ryan Expressway earlier this week, Cook County prosecutors said. The horse will never ride again and may need to be euthanized.
  5. Federal prosecutors have charged a Chicago man with harassing his former partner by sharing her nude photos with her family, friends and co-workers. Vincent Storme, 32, also allegedly created a fake website and social media accounts in her ex’s name to further embarrass her.
  6. Union nurses and the University of Illinois Hospital have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract that includes smaller patient loads. The agreement comes after a week-long strike by 800 nurses.

A bright one

The Chicago South Side Film Festival and more things to do over the next few days

Looking for something to switch up your routine tonight or this weekend? We are too, so we rounded up some fun options for things to do virtually, or while safely socially-distanced.

For movie buffs, the Chicago South Side Film Festival will be celebrating with an online event this year that kicks off tomorrow. The films include “No Lye: An American Beauty Story,” Bayer Mack’s documentary about the rise and fall of the Black-owned beauty business, and Lora Branch’s “40th: The Story of Bishop Robert Williams and Robert Temple,” which explores the temple’s place in Chicago’s Black history. The fest also features several short films, filmmaker Q&A’s and panel discussions.

Angie LeBare performs at Lips Drag Palace in Chicago. Lips Chicago
Lips Chicago

If you’re looking to venture out for dinner or drinks, you might consider a visit to Lips Drag Palace, which reopens tonight. Each Wednesday through Sunday there’s a different theme for the drag queen show, ranging from Twisted Broadway to the Dragalicious Gospel Brunch.

Or, if you’re watching your wallet, the Chicago Children’s Choir has a virtual concert Saturday night called “Reverberation: A Celebration of Enduring Voices.” The song list features a varied mix ranging from U2’s “One” and Beyonce’s “Bigger” and “The Lion King: The Gift,” to “Just a Dream,” written by 11-year-old choir member Jamion Cotton with choir alum W. Mitchell Owens.

We have more options, too, like a circus and sideshow memorabilia sale or a free Ilana Glazer show you can stream.

From the press box

Will the unbeaten Bears’ problems finally catch up to them Sunday against the 0-2 Falcons? Our analysts make their predictions for the Week 3 matchup in Atlanta.

And with Big Ten football moving forward next month, Dave Revsine and the Big Ten Network are getting ready for a season that’ll be unlike any before it. BTN and other networks are still hammering out the details of the TV schedule for this fall.

Your daily question ☕

How does the coming winter look to you, and how will it be affected by the pandemic?

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 you: How will you remember Bears legend Gale Sayers? Here’s what some of you said…

“As a fluid, graceful running back whose career was cut short. And a humanitarian.” — Ivan Ruíz

“Back in my teens he came to Division Street YMCA in Chicago to give us a talk on setting goals for life and about coming back from his knee injury. I’ve never forgotten it.” — Peggy Stagner Jupp

“The Kansas Comet, scoring six touchdowns in the mud at Wrigley Field versus the San Francisco 49ers.” — Tom Valek

“A great athlete and a great gentleman.” — Jackie Riley

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

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