Afternoon Edition: Jan. 5, 2022

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

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After a teachers strike that lasted more than two weeks, Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey delivers a statement in front of Richard Yates Elementary School in Humboldt Park on the first day back to school, Friday morning, Nov. 1, 2019.

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey speaks in front of Richard Yates Elementary School in Humboldt Park on Nov. 1, 2019.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

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.

This afternoon will see light, patchy, blowing snow with a high of 12 degrees. A winter weather advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. this evening. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a chance of flurries, a low of around 12 degrees and wind chill values as low as -8 degrees. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high near 15.

Top story

CTU president: ‘If you want to get us into the schools quicker, provide testing’

Chicago Teachers Union leadership said this morning that, barring a deal that would cement COVID-19 safety protocols the union is seeking, teachers would only return to in-person instruction when the current surge of cases and hospitalizations spurred by the Omicron variant subsides.

“What happens if we don’t get an agreement is the surge subsides and when the surge subsides, hopefully quickly, we’ll be back in the classroom doing in-person instruction,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said during a virtual news conference.

Sharkey said CTU leadership has set a target date of Jan. 18 for a return to in-class instruction.

But he added: “We’re going to have to assess this thing as we go along.”

Negotiations with Chicago Public Schools leadership were set to resume at 1:30 p.m., Sharkey said.

Chicago Public Schools classes were canceled today after the CTU voted to refuse in-person work because of post-holiday COVID-19 concerns.

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said yesterday schools would remain open for families to drop off their children if they can’t put together child care plans, and school administrators and support staff would supervise.

The school district promised they would provide families with a new plan to continue student learning by the end of the day today.

Mitch Dudek has more on the developing details of this story here.

More news you need

  1. Prosecutors are seeking federal charges — and the death penalty upon conviction — for two suspects in a hotel shooting last week that killed a Bradley police officer and critically wounded her partner. The suspects are already facing state felony charges in the Dec. 29 shooting that killed Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic and left her partner, Officer Tyler Bailey, fighting for his life.
  2. A child welfare worker was stabbed to death while visiting a home outside Springfield yesterday, and a man who had been living there is facing murder charges. Deidre Silas, 36, was attacked as she was checking on six children, ages 1 to 7, in a home in Thayer, according to the Sangamon County sheriff’s office.
  3. Ald. Pat Dowell jumped in the Democratic House primary to succeed Rep. Bobby Rush today, dropping her statewide bid for Illinois secretary of state. Dowell made the switch after Rush’s surprise decision to not seek a 16th term representing the 1st Congressional District.
  4. U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said today that he will, in his next chapter, devote himself “full time” to working against the extremism that led to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Kinzinger, a leading Trump critic, announced in October that he would not seek another term in the House.
  5. Two suburban hospital groups have combined to create the third-largest medical system in Illinois, the Daily Herald’s Jake Griffin reports. Officials from NorthShore University Health Systems and Edward-Elmhurst Health announced today the merger was approved by state and federal authorities.
  6. Lyric Opera of Chicago today announced that its production of “Proving Up” — originally slated for presentation Jan. 22-30 at the Goodman Theatre’s Owen Theatre — has been postponed. While Lyric reps say no one has tested positive for COVID in the company, cast and crew, the postponement comes out of an abundance of caution amid the pandemic’s latest surge.

A bright one

To summer and beyond! 22 films Roeper can’t wait to see in 2022

To start the new year off right, Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper looked forward to 2022’s lineup of upcoming films. Roeper narrowed down his list to 22 titles he expects will be worth writing home about.

From a new Batman to “Avatar” and “Black Panther” sequels, to the story behind Buzz Lightyear, Roeper’s rundown has a little something for just about everyone.

Here’s our critic on some of the movies he can’t wait to see this year:

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Nov. 11): Rather than recast the role of T’Challa/Black Panther after the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman, director/co-writer Ryan Coogler and the Marvel team are choosing to focus on supporting players from the Wakanda universe, including Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, Danai Gurira’s Okoye and Angela Bassett’s Ramonda, among others. Controversy has swirled over Letitia Wright’s refusal to get vaccinated, but Wright is still onboard to play Shuri.


Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia (pictured in “Black Panther” in 2018) will be out front in the sequel, due Nov. 11.

Marvel Studios

“Lightyear” (June 17): Did you know the Buzz Lightyear toy was based on a “real” character? “Lightyear” tells the origin story of the human character Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans), a talented young test pilot, before he went to Infinity and Beyond.

“Scream” (Jan. 14): Some 26 years after the original delivered fantastic meta-thrills, cast members Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette return in a sequel that takes place a quarter-century later. It’s always a tricky thing when a franchise is rebooted after so many years (as evidenced by “Matrix: Resurrections”) but here’s hoping Ghostface and the gang still have some life — and gruesome death — left.”

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” (Dec. 23): Seems like only yesterday when Whitney Houston was starring in “The Bodyguard,” but somehow that was in 1992 and they’re planning a reboot of that movie, and it’s been nine years since Whitney died. (Man. Time.) The greatly talented Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou,” “Harriet”) will direct British Naomi Ackie as Whitney in this musical biopic, with Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown and Stanley Tucci as Clive Davis.

See the full list of Roeper’s most-anticipated films here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What advice do you have for new dog owners in the city?

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: Do you think CPS should implement remote learning?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Yes. I think it’s best they go remote due to the fact there’s a high surge with COVID/Omicron in kids and adults — with these numbers going up. It’s not safe right now. It’s best to keep them at home until these numbers decrease. It’s causing anxiety and stress on the teachers, parents and kids dealing with this mess. So, I’m all for remote for my children keeping them safe at home.” — Sherry Denise Howard

“Absolutely not. I work in a pediatric hospital and if you take the self precautions you will be safe! Kids need to be in school for their mental and physical health.” — Laura O’Donnell Gruber

“Absolutely. It’s ridiculous and premature to send students in a classroom like sardines with a pandemic surge going on. There are more positive cases than CPS’ data shows. Clearly, they weren’t ready with such a silly waste of tests for Xmas break. What a waste of resources.” — Mir Cuellar

“No. I think students that have COVID should quarantine, while the other students continue in-person learning. Some students are not doing well remotely.” — Monica Lavalais

“Parents should have a vote, not teachers. The parents who do not want their children at school should have an option for remote. Why make all the children remote when it’s not all of them getting sick? Also, what about the children who have received their shots?” — Patricia Newlin

“No, my child suffered massively being home.” — Marilyn Molly Soto

“CPS should have remote learning as an option. CPS did not take the time to ask parents. My child caught COVID from a teammate who was asymptomatic. Mind you, I did everything possible in keeping my child safe. And my child is definitely vaccinated. Remote learning should definitely be reinstated until the numbers go down. Students not vaccinated should be tested every day.” — Dawn Nicol

“Yes! Safe, consistent in-person learning is best. But CPS hasn’t been able to provide that. The next obvious best choice is remote learning, not ‘classes canceled’ as the CPS CEO is threatening.” — Lara Victoria

“I think if they were going to do it, it should have been done already. But in typical CPS/CTU fashion, they wait till the tenth hour to make a decision. This should have been voted on while we were on Christmas break.” — Lisa Alwin Newberry

“Yes. The tests they took sat at the Fed Ex drop off untouched and too long and it’s much safer for them to stay home right now. Better to do remote learning.” — Patty Wink

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