Afternoon Edition: Feb. 22, 2022

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

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot at today’s press conference announcing the city will lift its mask and proof-of-vaccine mandates on Feb. 28.

Tyler LaRiviere/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.

This afternoon will continue to see rain showers, freezing rain and areas of fog with a high near 25 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with patchy, freezing drizzle, a low around 13 and wind chill values as low as minus-1. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 25 and wind chill values as low as minus-3.

Top story

Chicago to lift mask and vaccine mandates on Feb. 28, but keep masks in schools for now

Chicago will lift its mask and proof-of-vaccine mandates on Feb. 28, but Chicago Public School students, teachers and employees must keep their masks on — at least for the time being.

Rather than risk yet another confrontation with the Chicago Teachers Union, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her hand-picked CPS CEO Pedro Martinez are prepared, for now, to abide by the agreement they struck with CTU that ended a dispute that canceled classes for five days last month.

The mayor and Chicago Public Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady announced the good news during a City Hall news conference. Martinez initially had been scheduled to appear with them, but an updated schedule for the mayor issued at 1 p.m. no longer included the schools CEO.

At least one lawsuit has been filed — by CPS parents in Mount Greenwood — that could end up lifting the mask mandate in Chicago. Mandates already have been lifted in more than 150 school districts elsewhere around the state.

No matter what happens in CPS, starting on Monday, patrons of restaurants, bars and gyms will soon be free to take their masks off and keep their vaccine cards in their wallets.

“Thanks to the ongoing progress the city is making in coming out of the Omicron surge, we’re announcing today that we will remove the indoor mask mandate and the vaccine requirement for certain public locations on Feb. 28 this coming Monday. This is in alignment with the state’s previously announced plans to lift the statewide indoor mask mandate on that same date,” Lightfoot told a City Hall news conference.

“It’s important for us to recognize this moment for what it is: a huge step forward in our effort to overcome COVID-19. We would not have been in a position — even a few weeks ago — to be making this kind of announcement today.”

Fran Spielman and Nader Issa have more on the status of the mandates here.

More news you need

  1. A 3-year-old boy was shot on the side of his face this morning in West Garfield Park, according to Chicago police. A gunman pulled up in an SUV and fired shots into a car occupied by the child and a woman, police said.
  2. Ald. George Cardenas, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s deputy floor leader, predicted today that a parliamentary maneuver would delay this week’s City Council showdown on the mayor’s controversial plan to use civil lawsuits to seize the assets of Chicago’s gangs. Any two aldermen can postpone a City Council vote until the next meeting with a tactic called “defer and publish.”
  3. The CTA is aiming for the full electrification of its bus fleet by 2040, the transit agency announced today. The CTA has 11 electric buses in service, and 14 more are expected to hit the streets this year. The rest of its 1,800-plus fleet still run on diesel.
  4. “Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep,” a new immersive exhibit at theField Museum, aims to bring to life the depth of the Jurassic seas.The exhibit, which opens Friday to the general public, features more than 100 fossils and models of marine creatures dating back over 200 million years.
  5. For the latest installment of our Dishin’ on the Dish series, Madeline Kenney talked with Lardon chef and co-owner Chris Thompson about his restaurant’s Italiano sandwich. Thompson said he initially drew inspiration for his sandwich from the iconic “Mr. G Italian Sub” from J.P. Graziano.

A bright one

Thousands of CPS students — and some of their parents — to get full college scholarships: ‘This is life changing’

Parents and students packed the auditorium at Benito Juarez Community Academy High school Tuesday for what they thought was an assembly about activities for seniors, such as graduation requirements.

But they quickly noticed something else was afoot. TV cameras lined the back wall. Local radio deejays opened the assembly by telling students to take out their phones because history was about to be made.

Juarez principal Juan Carlos Ocon addressed the crowd and talked about how much the pandemic interrupted the lives of the seniors.

Then, he said: “Today, we are bringing you some good news.”

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Students at Benito Juarez Community Academy High School react to hearing that Hope Chicago will provide full scholarships for college or vocational programs.

Manuel Martinez/WBEZ

Ocon told the students that the prom wouldn’t be held in the school cafeteria or gym.

“Prom is going to be in the Palmer House for the first time in two years,” he said. And graduation is not going to be in the parking lot or the soccer field but at the Arie Crown Theater, Ocon added.

But the surprises didn’t end there.

Philanthropist Pete Kadens came to the podium and revealed: Each student was going to get a full scholarship to college.

Read the rest of Sarah Karp’s story to see how students and their families reacted to the incredible news.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

How do you feel about Chicago’s plans to lift its mask and vaccine mandates?

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

On Friday we asked you: What’s a reasonable home temperature?

Here’s what some of you said…

“72-73 for me during cold weather. Summertime, a bit warmer, maybe 75 (don’t recall what I settled on last year).” —Susan Vavrick

“69 in the winter, 74 in the summer.” — Alec Knight

“78 degrees, I feel cold a lot.” —Marta Omarr

“68° in winter (lower if possible), 78° in summer (higher if possible). Unless you have a debilitating disease, those that are higher or lower respectively are terrible selfish humans.” — Howard Beale

“For my family, a reasonable (and comfortable) home temperature is 70-72 degrees.” —Tracy Poyser

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