Afternoon Edition: Aug. 13, 2021

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

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Roosevelt High School teacher Jeff Lorenz receives a dose of the Moderna vaccine at the Albany Park neighborhood school in March.

Anthony Vázquez/Archivo 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.

Today will be mostly sunny with a high near 84 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 64. Tomorrow is expected to be sunny with a high near 82.

Top story

CPS mandates COVID-19 vaccination for teachers, all other district employees

Teachers, staff members, vendors and all other Chicago Public Schools employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the coming school year, CPS announced today.

Workers need to submit proof of full vaccination by Oct. 15, a month and a half after full-time in-person classes resume Aug. 30. They’ll be required to be tested once a week until the fall deadline.

The vaccine mandate won’t apply to employees who have a medical reason or “sincerely held religious beliefs” for not receiving their shots. Those employees still have to submit to regular COVID-19 testing.

About 78% of CPS employees have gotten a shot or scheduled one, and 67% are fully vaccinated, officials said. That self-reported data “may not tell a complete picture,” though, according to CPS.

The CPS mandate was put in place a day after a similar order was issued for teachers across California. So far, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has left vaccine decisions up to local school districts, though a mask mandate is in effect for schools statewide.

Kids as young as 12 are eligible to be vaccinated. Students are not required to be vaccinated for the upcoming schools year.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is driving the city’s latest resurgence, with average daily caseloads multiplying by 10 since the beginning of July and the citywide positivity rate at a three-month high.

Mitchell Armentrout has more on the mandate here.

More news you need

  1. The family of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot and killed by a CPD officer in March, has settled on a site in rural Wisconsin for Adam’s Place, a nonprofit project geared to help at-risk youth. Adam’s Place will be built on a 70-acre farm near Potosi, and modeled after the Christian ministry program Boys Farm in South Carolina.
  2. More Chicago businesses and events are demanding COVID-19 vaccination proof, which can lead to some confusion in the absence of a federal vaccination mandate. Reporter Stephanie Zimmerman answers key questions about the new requirements here.
  3. Technology provider Cisco said today it will move its Midwest regional hub from Rosemont to downtown Chicago, where it will lease space in the Old Post Office on West Van Buren. The mayor’s office said the company will lease more than 134,000 square feet in the cavernous landmark.
  4. Comic actor Horatio Sanz is accused in a new lawsuit of sexually assaulting a teenage fan during his 1998-2006 run on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” The suit, filed yesterday, says Sanz sexually assaulted the girl, 17, during and after two parties attended by his “SNL” colleagues in 2002.
  5. After receiving a $20,000 grant through DoorDash, Back of the Yards Coffeehouse owner Jesse Iniguez decided to propose a multi-business development through the mayor’s Invest South/West initiative. His plan is to involve Black, Brown, women and LGBTQ entrepreneurs from the neighborhood in the development.
  6. A Chicago tradition returns tomorrow with the 92nd Annual Bud Billiken Parade and Festival, set to kick off at 45th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at 10 a.m. This year’s grand marshal is Chicago Sky forward and two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player Candace Parker.
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A bright one

Chicago area offers plenty of places to get back out into nature

A byproduct of the coronavirus pandemic has been Chicagoans’ renewed connection to nature.

From public parks to conservatories, the Chicago area has plenty of places where that urge can be indulged.

Last week, Sun-times intern Nina Molina compiled a list of some natural highlights to visit before the summer winds down. Here are a few of them.


Visitors can hike, drive or ride a tram to visit the sculptures of the “Human+Nature” exhibit.

The Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum

Art and nature often coexist at this sprawling green haven in Lisle. For its new exhibit, “Human+Nature,” five of South African artist Daniel Popper’s sculptures of touchable human faces are scattered around the grounds for a scavenger hunt.

“It’s about a 3-mile hike to all the sculptures,” said Sarah Sargent, manager of interpretation and exhibits. (You also can drive or ride a tram.)


The steep rock walls of Stearns Quarry have become a fishing hole at Palmisano Park.

Irene Tostado/Chicago Park District

Palmisano Park

On the site of a former quarry in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, visitors now can fish, climb boulders or paddle a kayak — and, in some spots, still have a view of downtown.

“The land has changed from a coral reef to a quarry to a landfill and now to a park,” said Dennis Gonzalez, the park’s manager. “It’s a beautiful thing because it’s transformed and given the community something.”


The Garfield Park Conservatory requires reservations, admission to the gardens is free.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory

Visitors signing up to visit the Garfield Park Conservatory’s newest special exhibit may find themselves being led around by a teenager from the Urban Roots docent program.

“Artist’s Garden Still Life in Real Life: Charles Ethan Porter” pays homage to the landscape and still-life artist. Besides leading visitors through the exhibit, the teen docents will provide background information, according to Mattie Wilson, director of programs and interpretation for the conservatory.

See Nina Molina’s full list of Chicago-area nature highlights here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

In honor of today being Friday the 13th, what’s one superstition you have?

Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What’s the best book you’ve read so far this summer? Tell us why. Here’s what some of you said...

“Tommy James’ ‘Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells.’ Awesome read about making records in the sixties while your record company’s boss is a mobster.” — George Gatz

“‘It Ends with Us’ by Colleen Hoover. I loved this book because this story was beautifully written, taking into consideration the point of view of survivors of domestic violence. It is one small fragment of barriers that survivors face when attempting to manage an abusive relationship. It honors ending patterns but also honors those who unfortunately do not always have that option. It’s much more than a love story. Definitely recommend. — Xiomara Castañeda

“‘Sinatra and Me: In the Wee Small Hours’ by Tony Oppedisano with Mary Jane Ross. Being a Sinatra fan, this was a natural. Second best: ‘Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America’ by Alec MacGillis. Fascinating stories about how Amazon works.” — Ed Ader

“‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X.’ This book tells the extraordinary story of the life of Malcolm X. Reading it was a reminder of the injustices that African Americans have faced almost since the beginning of time. Moreover, it is a reminder of how educating oneself can change your trajectory in life.” — LeVina Cherry

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